Can We Abandon Saw Wedge Resection in Lapidus Fusion? A Comparative Study of Joint Preparation Techniques Regarding Correction of Deformity, Union Rate, and Preservation of First Ray Length

Published:September 25, 2019DOI:


      The traditional joint preparation technique for Lapidus fusion involves wedge resection using a saw to achieve correction of intermetatarsal angular deformity. The main drawback of this approach is undesirable shortening of the first ray, which can predispose to second ray overload that may preclude the procedure for a subset of patients or may necessitate second metatarsal shortening osteotomy. The goal of this study was to determine whether a first ray length-preserving joint preparation technique (curette and bur) achieves equivalent correction of deformity and fusion rate without first ray shortening compared with the standard saw wedge resection technique. A retrospective review of consecutive cases from January 2007 to August 2014 identified 62 patients who underwent 65 Lapidus fusions for hallux valgus correction with crossed-screw fixation. All patients treated from 2007 to 2010 had saw wedge resection, whereas all patients treated from 2011 to 2014 had curette and bur joint preparation without use of a saw. The mean intermetatarsal angle correction was 9.06° (range 5° to 14.7°) in the saw wedge resection group and 8.11° (range 2.8° to 15.5°) in the curette and bur group, a difference that was not statistically significant. The mean amount of first ray shortening was –3.14 (range –6.1 to 0) mm in the saw wedge resection group and –0.86 (range –2.3 to 4.2) mm in the curette and bur group, a result that was statistically significant. Osseous union was confirmed radiographically at 10 weeks postoperatively in all cases. These findings suggest that first ray length can be preserved using a more conservative joint preparation technique regardless of preoperative deformity, without compromising correction of deformity or union rate.

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