Two Orthogonal Nitinol Staples and Combined Nitinol Staple-Screw Constructs for a First Metatarsophalangeal Joint Arthrodesis: A Biomechanical Cadaver Study

Kevin A. Schafer, Todd Baldini, Mary Hamati, Jonathon D. Backus, Kenneth J. Hunt, Jeremy J. McCormick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: End-stage hallux metatarsophalangeal (MTP) joint arthritis is commonly treated with arthrodesis using stainless steel or titanium implants. These implants provide static compression that is maximal at the time of implant insertion. Alternatively, nitinol staples are capable of dynamic compression. They have most frequently been used for midfoot arthrodesis procedures. However, their biomechanical performance during hallux MTP arthrodesis has not been described. Methods: 8 matched pairs of cadaveric feet (4 female, 4 male) were prepared for hallux MTP arthrodesis using cup and cone reamers. Cadaveric pairs were then instrumented with either (1) a transarticular lag screw and dorsal nitinol staple or (2) orthogonal nitinol staples placed dorsally and medially. Walking in a short leg cast for 6 weeks was simulated by applying 90-N forces at 3 Hz to the plantar proximal phalanx for up to 250 000 cycles. Failure was defined as catastrophic implant failure or plantar gapping beyond 7 mm. Results: 15 of 16 specimens failed cyclic loading. All 8 specimens fixed with orthogonal staples failed at an average of 37 ± 81 cycles. 7 of 8 specimens fixed with a dorsal staple and crossed screw failed at 14 900 ± 39 000 cycles. Collectively, 5 specimens failed because of bone fracture (1 in orthogonal staples, 4 in staple-screw group) and 10 failed because of excessive gap formation (7 in orthogonal staples, 3 in staple-screw group). The number of cycles to failure was significantly lower (P =.0469) in the orthogonal staple constructs compared with the dorsal staple and crossed screw constructs. Conclusion: The tested constructs permit significant motion at the first MTP fusion surface during simulated protected weightbearing. Although multiple in vivo factors should be considered when extrapolating results from this cadaveric study, this motion may result in clinical failure with early postoperative weightbearing protocols. Clinical Relevance: We report the first biomechanical evaluation of hallux MTP arthrodesis using modern nitinol staples in 2 separate constructs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1493-1500
Number of pages8
JournalFoot and Ankle International
Volume43
Issue number11
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2022

Keywords

  • hallux rigidus
  • metatarsophalangeal fusion
  • nitinol staples

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