Introduction: Although the gold standard to address hallux rigidus that fails conservative treatment is an arthrodesis, some surgeons have attempted to use arthroplasty to improve range of motion and to simulate a normal joint. When these implants do fail, a salvage MTP arthrodesis is the only surgical option for these patients. This research aims to outline various methods to arthrodese the MTP joint in salvage situations.
Methods: We retrospectively looked at patients who underwent a first-MTP fusion after failure of an implant arthroplasty. All fusions involved either bone allograft or autograft and internal fixation. The patients were assessed clinically, radiographically, and with the Ankle Society Hallux Metatarsophalangeal-Interphalangeal (AOFAS MTP-IP) clinical questionnaire preoperatively and postoperatively.
Results: In all, 11 patients met the inclusion criteria. The average age of patients at the time of the salvage MTP arthrodesis was 57 years. The interval time between primary surgery and revision arthrodesis was on average 84.2 months. There was a high reoperation rate, with 7 operative procedures occurring per 12 arthrodeses (58%). The average time to radiographic fusion was 6.9 ± 4.8 months; 41.7% of patients had a delayed union (>6 months to fusion). Two patients had symptomatic nonunions (16.7%). All the patients had an improvement in their AOFAS MTP-IP score.
Conclusion: Although salvage arthrodeses for failed arthroplasties generally have favorable satisfaction rates and are a powerful tool in treating this painful condition, they are fraught with complications. They unite slower, have a significantly higher reoperation rate, and have lower AOFAS scores than primary fusions.
Keywords: arthroplasty; hallux rigidus; salvage.