Medium-Term Outcomes With Pyrocarbon Proximal Interphalangeal Arthroplasty: A Study of 170 Consecutive Arthroplasties

Eric R. Wagner, John T. Weston, Matthew T. Houdek, T. David Luo, Steven L. Moran, Marco Rizzo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Purpose: The purpose of this study was to examine the medium-term outcomes of patients undergoing proximal interphalangeal (PIP) joint arthroplasty using a pyrocarbon implant. Methods: The study comprised an analysis of 170 PIP joint pyrocarbon arthroplasties in 99 patients with a minimum 2-year clinical follow-up. Diagnoses included inflammatory arthritis (n = 49), posttraumatic arthritis (n = 29), and osteoarthritis (n = 92). Univariate logistic regression and Kaplan-Meier survival analyses were performed. Results: At an average follow-up of 6 years (range, 2–14 years), 58 reoperations (34%) were required, including 36 (21%) involving implant revision surgery. The majority of revisions were performed for either dislocations (n = 16) or pain and stiffness (n = 14). The 5- and 10-year survival-free of revision surgery rates were 79% and 77%, respectively. The risk for revision surgery was higher in patients with posttraumatic arthritis. There were 15 intraoperative complications involving a fracture and 26 postoperative complications, including 21 dislocations. In unrevised implants, patients had significant improvements in their preoperative to postoperative pain levels, with no change in their PIP joint total arc of motion. At a mean radiographic follow-up of 5.4 years, there were 28% with grade 3+ loosening and 36% with progressive implant instability. Implant loosening or progressive instability was not associated with worse pain or PIP joint total arc of motion. Conclusions: Approximately 1 in 5 PIP joint arthroplasties with a pyrocarbon implant will require revision surgery by 5 years, and 1 in 3 will undergo more than 1 operation. Furthermore, 1 in 4 PIP joint arthroplasties will have grade 3+ radiographic loosening and 1 in 3 will have progressive loosening or subsidence by 5 years. These results are particularly concerning in young patients and those with posttraumatic arthritis. Overall, in patients that do not require revision surgery, pain relief was improved and motion maintained. Type of study/level of evidence: Therapeutic IV.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)797-805
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Hand Surgery
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2018


  • PIP
  • Proximal interphalangeal joint
  • arthroplasty
  • pyrocarbon

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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