Cost Comparison of Crossed Screws versus Dorsal Plate Construct for First Metatarsophalangeal Joint Arthrodesis

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Expensive surgical implants can significantly add to the cost of a procedure. We performed a crude cost analysis to evaluate and compare the crossed screw technique versus dorsal plating for first metatarsophalangeal arthrodesis. First metatarsophalangeal arthrodeses performed over a 20-month period were selected. Exclusion criteria included diabetes, neuroarthropathy, revision surgery, or alternate fixation. Hospital records were reviewed for each case to determine implant charges. Patient charts and radiographs were also reviewed to determine time to fusion, delayed union/nonunion, revision surgery, or hardware removal. Fifty-five first metatarsophalangeal arthrodeses were performed during the study period. Ten fusions were excluded, leaving 45 fusions for review. The overall fusion rate was 91.1%. The average time to fusion in crossed screw versus plating technique was 73.2 ± 32.5 days (range, 43 to 162) and 69.3 ± 37.3 days (range, 44 to 238), respectively, and not statistically significant. The mean implant cost in the crossed screw versus dorsal plating technique was $374.05 ± 76.3 (range, 278.72 to 530.00) and $603.57 ± 234.7 (range, 543.40 to 1677.00) respectively and was strongly significant (P = .0002). Complications included 2 delayed unions (1 screw, 1 plate), 4 nonunions (1 screw, 3 plate), 2 revisions (1 screw, 1 plate), and 2 hardware removals (1 screw, 1 plate). Summary: A cost comparison of crossed screws versus dorsal plate construct for first metatarsophalangeal arthrodesis is performed. No statistical difference was found in the time to fusion between the 2 constructs but there was strong statistical difference in hardware cost. This information may aid in the cost management of this procedure without compromising clinical results. ACFAS Level of Clinical Evidence: 2c.

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