Distal Interphalangeal Joint Arthrodesis: Treatment with Herbert Screw

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From 1996 to 2000, 20 patients with a mean age of 53 underwent 20 arthrodeses with Herbert
screws. There were 16 (80%) distal interphalangeal joint (DIP) and 4 (20%) thumb interphalangeal (IP) joint arthrodeses. Average follow-up was 25 months (range, 6–39 months). The diagnoses included rheumatoid arthritis in 10 patients, degenerative arthritis in 4, and post-traumatic arthritis in 6. Arthrodesis relieved pain and restored stability in all patients. Solid osseous union occurred in 19 patients (95%). The average interval to fusion was 8 weeks for DIP and 12 weeks for IP joint arthrodesis. Solid osseous union occurred in 19 patients (95%). The average interval to fusion was 8 weeks for distal interphalangeal joint arthrodesis and 12 weeks for interphalangeal joint of the thumb. There were three complications: one delayed union, one nonunion because of a short screw, and one dorsal skin necrosis with amputation. It was shown that distal interphalangeal joint arthrodesis with a Herbert screw is a technique with several advantages: good clinical results, high rates of fusion, early mobilization, and the screw does not need to be removed after the fusion heals. Potential complications may be avoided by using the Herbert mini-screw. (Journal of the Southern Orthopaedic Association 12(3):154–159, 2003)

Description

C. Lamas Gomez, MD, I. Proubasta, MD, I. Escriba , MD, J. Itarte, MD,
E. Caceres, MD, PhD

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