Can Stabilization Rods Provide A Viable Alternative In Hammertoe Correction?

By Anthony Leone, Special Projects Editor

   While many surgeons may opt for traditional arthroplasty, those who are looking for improved stability may want to consider the use of Interphlex Flexible Stabilization Rods.    Comprised of 80-durometer medical grade silicone, the Interphlex rods help maintain toe length by stabilizing and preserving the joint space, according to the product’s manufacturer OsteoMed, Inc. The company notes the stiffness of the rods addresses toe migration while the spacer provides stability of the joint space.    OsteoMed says the Interphlex rods are indicated for the correction of hammertoes.    In his experience, Alan Rothstein, DPM, has found that the Interphlex rods facilitate increased postoperative stability, which helps his patients “get out of bandages and splints earlier and back into shoes.”    Dr. Rothstein, who has an accredited and certified surgery center in Marietta, Ga., also points out another key benefit in utilizing the Interphlex rods.     “In many cases, the postoperative edema is less than what one might see with a standard arthroplasty,” adds Dr. Rothstein, who says this may be attributed to the increased stability. The company says the Interphlex rods reduce post-op edema by controlling intraoperative hematoma formation.

Key Points For Consideration

   Dr. Rothstein cautions that while Interphlex rods help maintain and increase motion in the toes, there will be stiffness for patients. He says this is normal with any type of arthroplasty procedure.     “In the foot, as far as the digits go, stability is more important than flexibility,” states Dr. Rothstein, who says he has five years of experience with Interphlex and has used the device in almost 400 toes.    Since excessive motion can contribute to toe deformities that one is trying to correct via surgery, Dr. Rothstein says some stiffness is a good thing when it comes to improving stability.    In his experience with Interphlex, Dr. Rothstein has had only two cases where he had to remove a rod due to a prolonged inflammatory reaction. The inflammatory effect cleared up after he removed the rods.     “Other than these two instances, (my patients) have had no adverse reaction to the implant,” he responds.

Other Pertinent Points

   In toes that need an arthrodesis, the Interphlex rod may not be enough to help the patient, cautions Dr. Rothstein. He adds that the procedure for the implant may be technically more difficult than what one might find with a head resection, noting there is a small increase in operating time. If there is a problem with the implant, Dr. Rothstein says one must perform another surgery to remove it.    He also cautions surgeons against using stems that are too long. Dr. Rothstein says stems that are too long will prevent a proper fit for the implant and thwart one’s attempts to stabilize the toe. OsteoMed adds that the stems of the rods are designed to be trimmed for a custom fit.

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