Authors: Michael P. Donnenwerth, DPM; Sara L Borkosky, DPM; Bradley P. Abicht, DPM; Elizabeth J. Plovanich, DPM; Thomas S. Roukis, DPM, PhD, FACFAS.
Abstract: First metatarsal-cuneiform joint arthrodesis is a commonly performed procedure to correct first ray pathology. The most widely accepted approach is curettage and 2 crossed compression screw fixation followed by a period of non–weight-bearing. Despite adequate joint preparation and stable internal fixation, nonunion has been cited as a known complication. This can lead to the need for revision surgery, which is undesirable and drives healthcare costs. To further investigate this topic, we conducted a systematic review to determine the rate of nonunion after the first metatarsal-cuneiform joint arthrodesis using curettage and 2 crossed compression screw fixation. Studies were eligible for inclusion only if they involved the following: arthrodesis of the first metatarsal-cuneiform joint with curettage and 2 crossed compression screw fixation, a minimum of 25 feet, with a mean follow-up of at least 6 months, and a period of postoperative non–weight-bearing. After considering all the potentially eligible references, 1 (1.8%) evidence-based medicine level I and 4 (7.3%) evidence-based medicine level IV studies met our inclusion criteria. A total of 537 patients (599 feet), 54 (10%) males and 483 (90%) females, with a weighted mean age of 49.4 years, were included. For those studies that specified the exact follow-up, the weighted mean was 30.9 months. A total of 30 nonunions (5%) were reported, with 17 (56.7%) symptomatic. The results of our systematic review revealed a relatively high rate of nonunion for first metatarsal-cuneiform joint arthrodesis with curettage and 2 crossed compression screw fixation, even when performed by experienced surgeons. Therefore, given the available data, additional prospective investigations are warranted, especially in the evaluation and comparison of fixation constructs and postoperative management.