Review Article| Volume 49, ISSUE 6, P546-552, November 2010

Does Total Joint Replacement or Arthrodesis of the First Metatarsophalangeal Joint Yield Better Functional Results? A Systematic Review of the Literature

  • Mark Brewster
    Address correspondence to: Mark Brewster, MBChB, University Hospitals of Coventry and Warwickshire, 8 Four Oaks Common Road, Sutton Coldfield, West Mids, B744NJ, UK.
    University Hospitals of Coventry and Warwickshire, Coventry, UK
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      As first metatarsophalangeal joint arthrodesis is generally considered to be a successful procedure for the treatment of hallux rigidus, many surgeons question the usefulness of total joint replacement. In an effort to elucidate the clinical evidence, we undertook a systematic review of the literature comparing the functional outcomes of arthrodesis and joint replacement in first metatarsophalangeal surgery. Using multiple search engines and medical subject headings, 10 articles were eligible for inclusion: 5 featured arthrodesis and 5 featured total joint replacement. The American Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Society–Hallux metatarsophalangeal-interphalangeal score was used in all articles. The mean age at operation was 53 years for joint replacement patients and 55 for those undergoing joint arthrodesis. Most patients in all studies were female. There was a significant increase from pre- to postoperative scores in both procedures. The median postoperative score for joint replacement was 83/100 (range 74–95) and 82/100 (range 78–89) for arthrodesis. The median revision rate in joint replacements was 7% (range 0%–10%) and 0% (range 0%–12%) for arthrodesis. This systematic review reveals that arthrodesis achieves better functional outcomes than total joint replacement. The operative techniques and prostheses for joint replacements are however still in an early stage of development and advances still need to be achieved to produce a more successful and anatomical prosthesis that could be functionally superior to an arthrodesis.

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