JOURNAL ARTICLE
RANDOMIZED CONTROLLED TRIAL
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A prospective randomized controlled trial of plantar versus dorsal incisions for operative treatment of primary Morton's neuroma.

BACKGROUND: There are a great number of studies on the outcome of surgery for Morton's neuroma. However, there is a lack of controlled trials to determine the outcome in general and for the 2 most used surgical approaches. This prospective and randomized trial studied the outcome and adverse events of resected primary Morton's neuromas, comparing plantar and dorsal incisions.

METHODS: Seventy-six patients were randomized to treatment with either a plantar or a dorsal incision by 2 senior surgeons. Questionnaires were evaluated and physical examinations performed at baseline and at 3 and 12 months postoperatively by the treating surgeon and at a mean of 34 months (range, 28-42 months) by an independent surgeon. The follow-up rate was 93%.

RESULTS: Histological examination of specimens verified resection of nerves in all cases except 1, which was in the dorsal group (artery). The main outcome variable, pain at daily activities, was significantly reduced by 96% (plantar) and 97% (dorsal) and restrictions in daily activities were reduced by 77% (plantar) and 67% (dorsal) at the final follow-up. Scar tenderness was noted by 3% (plantar) and 0% (dorsal) at the final evaluation. Clinically good results with surgery were noted in 87% (plantar) and 83% (dorsal) of cases. There were 5 complications in the plantar group and 6 in the dorsal group, with a difference in type of complications.

CONCLUSIONS: This study demonstrated 87% (plantar) and 83% (dorsal) clinically good outcomes and no significant differences between the procedures in regard to pain, restrictions in daily activities, and scar tenderness. However, there was a difference between the groups in the type of complications.

LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: Level I, prospective randomized trial.

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