A Modified Fixation Technique for a Decompressional Shortening Osteotomy: A Retrospective Analysis

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A long metatarsal and/or metatarsophalangeal joint dislocation associated with a digital contracture is a surgical challenge. Without appropriate surgical correction, the patient will be predisposed to numerous complications, including persistent subluxation or dislocation, recurrent metatarsalgia, dorsiflexory contracture of the digit, transfer lesions, and inadequate pain relief. The results of the present surgical treatment options have varied, with the most common complication being a floating toe. The purpose of our study was to introduce a decompression, shortening, lesser metatarsal osteotomy with a modified fixation technique using a T-plate and to report our results. Additionally, we have discussed trigonometric analysis of metatarsal declination and shortening. We retrospectively reviewed the outcomes of 30 consecutive patients with 33 osteotomies who had been treated surgically for pathologic features associated with a long metatarsal and varying biomechanical abnormalities. Before surgery, all the patients had been treated conservatively for a minimum of 3 months. The surgical procedure included a dorsal to plantar V-shaped shortening osteotomy of a lesser metatarsal that was fixated with a T plate. The patients were assessed radiographically and using the American Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Society Lesser Metatarsophalangeal–Interphalangeal Scale and visual analog scale. The mean age at surgery was 53 (range 37 to 75) years, with a mean follow-up period of 9.1 (range 6 to 15.4) months. The average shortening of the metatarsal was 2.7 mm. One patient (3%) had had asymptomatic delayed union and 2 patients (6%) hypertrophic nonunion. No incidence of malunion or avascular necrosis was identified. Five cases (15.2%) of hardware failure occurred. The mean American Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Society score was 76.7 postoperatively. The visual analog scale score had improved from 6.7 to 1.7. Of the 30 patients, 72% rated the overall surgical experience as excellent or good. In conclusion, the modified fixation technique for decompression, shortening metatarsal osteotomy using a T plate is a viable option when choosing a procedure to address a long, prominent metatarsal and/or digital contracture at the metatarsophalangeal joint and results in a low incidence of floating toe complications.Level of Clinical Evidence: 4

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