Arthrodesis of the proximal interphalangeal (PIP) joint of the finger is an established procedure for advanced osteoarthritis. As there are different techniques of fusion, it seems necessary to evaluate the results.
Primary outcome of this review was to evaluate different arthrodesis methods of the PIP joint and describe different numbers of non-unions. Secondary outcome was to evaluate time to consolidation. Respective complications, if mentioned, were listed additionally.
The review process was conducted according to the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses guidelines. The selected databases were PubMed, Medline, Embase, Google Scholar and Cochrane Library. Studies reporting outcomes of the arthrodesis with a defined technique and radiological consolidation were included. Complication rates and types were recorded. In total, 6162 articles could be identified, 159 full-texts were assessed and 64 studies were included. Methodological quality was assessed using Methodological Index for Non-Randomized Studies.
A total of 1923 arthrodeses of the PIP joint could be identified. Twelve different surgical techniques were described, four of these techniques with compression at the arthrodesis site. The most frequently used techniques were K-wires (n = 743, 14 studies), tension-band (n = 313, 15 studies) and compression screws (n = 233, 12 studies). The lowest rate of described non-unions in compression techniques was 3.9% with the compression screw. The highest non-union rate of 8.6% was achieved by interosseous wiring.
All the described techniques can achieve the goal of fusing an osteoarthritic joint. There is a tendency in the more recent literature for the use of compression techniques.