Lesser Metatarsal Phalangeal Joint Arthroscopy: Anatomic Description and Comparative Dissection


      The aim of this article is to describe the normal arthroscopic anatomy of the lesser metatarsophalangeal (MTP) joints and compare it with that seen in open dissection in cadaveric models.


      We performed arthroscopic examination of 18 MTP joints of 6 normal fresh frozen feet. The second, third, and fourth MTP joints were studied because of the higher incidence of pathologic conditions found in these joints. During arthroscopy, each anatomic structure identified was named and marked with different colored sutures using straight suture needles. After the arthroscopic procedure of identification and marking, each MTP joint was dissected, and all the anatomic structures were grossly identified. With these data, the correlation between the arthroscopic and the direct visualization of a normal MTP joint was established.


      Considering the joint regions, we found that the examination accuracy of the medial gutter was 91%, whereas the central joint accuracy reached 100% and the accuracy of the lateral gutter was 98%. The overall arthroscopic accuracy for the lesser MTP joints was 96%.


      There is a high level of anatomic accuracy at the lesser MTP joint with arthroscopy.

      Clinical Relevance

      The high overall level of anatomic accuracy of lesser MTP joint arthroscopy (96%) allows us to consider this resource as a valuable tool in the diagnosis and treatment of these joints, expanding the spectrum of indications using this method.
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