Biomechanical comparison of a less invasive technique and the current accepted technique for arthrodesis of the equine proximal interphalangeal joint



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Kansas State University


Objective - To compare the biomechanical characteristics of the currently recommended (CR) technique and a less invasive (LI) surgical approach for arthrodesis of the proximal interphalangeal joint (PIPJ). Additionally, to describe a technique for cartilage removal and disruption of the subchondral bone. Study design - Randomized paired limb design for biomechanical comparison. Cartilage removal and subchondral bone disruption was accomplished using an orthopedic drill bit. Sample Population – 76 cadaver limbs. Methods - Cadaver PIPJs were drilled using a 3.5mm, 4.5mm or 5.5mm drill bit. Articular surfaces were digitally photographed and analyzed. Other paired PIPJs were arthrodesed using either the CR or the LI surgical technique. Implants consisted of a 3-hole DCP and two 5.5mm transarticular screws. Constructs were tested to failure in dorso-palmar/plantar and latero-medial in single cycle 3-point bending. The maximum load and yield load was measured and composite stiffness was calculated and statistically compared. Results - The LI technique had significantly greater mean yield load (11.3 ± 2.8 kN vs. 7.68 ± 1.1 kN, P=0.008) and mean maximum load (13.5 ± 3.1 kN vs. 10.1 ± 1.94 kN, P= 0.02) under latero-medial bending. Under dorso-palmar/plantar bending there was no statistical difference between the surgical approaches (P=0.5). The 4.5mm drill bit removed 42% ± 7.3 of the cartilage and disrupted subchondral bone. The LI technique had a decreased surgical time (19 ± 3 min.) when compared with the CR (31 ± 3 min.) technique. Conclusion – The LI technique results in a stronger composite as measured in 3-point bending, loaded to failure. Clinical Relevance – The LI surgical technique may be considered for clinical cases requiring arthrodesis of the PIPJ as there is no reduction in composite strength.



Proximal interphalangeal joint, Less invasive surgical technique, Pastern arthrodesis, Biomechanical comparison

Graduation Month



Master of Science


Department of Clinical Sciences

Major Professor

James D. Lillich