To evaluate the clinical results of a pyrolytic carbon resurfacing proximal interphalangeal joint (PIPJ) arthroplasty in patients with osteoarthritis.
A retrospective review of 18 PIPJ arthroplasties in 8 women with severe osteoarthritis performed by a single surgeon was completed with an average follow-up period of 13 months. Clinical assessment included range of motion (ROM), stability, and deformity. Radiographs were reviewed for evidence of loosening, subsidence, fracture, and osseointegration. Six patients, representing 16 joints, answered a questionnaire regarding pain relief, appearance, and overall satisfaction with the arthroplasty. Complications also were recorded.
The average preoperative ROM was 10 degrees to 63 degrees, and the average postoperative ROM was 18 degrees to 71 degrees. Although the average arc of motion was unchanged, 9 joints had an increase in ROM and 9 joints had a decrease in ROM. All joints were stable laterally. Radiographic review indicated 2 joints with loosening at 4 months after surgery. Complications included 8 squeaky joints, 5 joint contractures, and 2 dislocations. Pain was relieved completely in 8 joints, and the pain rating on a visual analog scale was 3.6 out of 10 for the 8 patients who had residual pain. Patients were satisfied completely with the results of 9 joints. Although there was residual deformity in 4 joints, patients believed that 15 of 16 joints had improved in appearance. Five of 6 patients responded that they would have the surgery again. There have been no secondary procedures performed by us.
The insertion of pyrolytic carbon implants for PIPJ arthroplasty is a technically demanding procedure, but it has the potential to achieve pain relief, stability, satisfactory ROM, and correction of the deformity; however, the results in this review were unpredictable and may not be superior to those achieved with other methods of arthroplasty.
Therapeutic, Level IV.