Titanium Scaffolding: An Innovative Modality for Salvage of Failed First Ray Procedures

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Abstract

Shortening of the first ray is a potential complication associated with first metatarsal procedures. Correction of this deformity conventionally has required the use of a tricortical bone graft to lengthen the bone. Graft complications, including donor site morbidity, poor graft stability, and graft resorption, have revealed a need for an alternative procedure. The present report shows that titanium cage scaffolding has lower extremity applications beyond its previous uses in the ankle and spine. Two patients underwent surgical correction for failed first ray procedures using a titanium cage apparatus with a calcaneal autograft and other biologic agents. The scaffolds were appropriately sized to fill the defect. Patients remained non-weightbearing until radiographic evidence of healing appeared. Success was determined by diminished pain, a return to activity, ambulation, and patient satisfaction. Patients exhibited faster-than-anticipated healing, including a return to protected weightbearing activities and increased stability within 6 weeks. Titanium cage implants provide long-term stability and resistance to stress and strain in the forefoot. The implant we have described, newly applied to the first ray, is analogous to a system used in salvage of failed ankle replacements. In addition to reducing reliance on the iliac crest bone graft, the titanium cage apparatus is advantageous because it is customized to fill a defect using computed tomography scanning, thereby reducing graft failure secondary to an improper shape. These cases demonstrate the potential beneficial applications for titanium cages in failed first ray reconstruction.

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