A reliable method for intraoperative evaluation of syndesmotic reduction

Hobie D. Summers*, Micah K. Sinclair, Michael D. Stover

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

72 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVES:: To determine the accuracy of a technique for intraoperative assessment of syndesmotic reduction in ankle fractures. DESIGN:: Prospective, case series. SETTING:: University hospital. PATIENTS/PARTICIPANTS:: Eighteen consecutive patients with suspected syndesmotic injuries were enrolled between 2007 and 2009. The diagnosis of syndesmotic injury was based on static ankle radiographs. The study group consisted of 12 male and 6 female patients with an average age of 32 years (range 19-56 years). INTERVENTION:: All patients had mortise and talar dome lateral fluoroscopic images obtained of the uninjured ankle in the operating room. The injured ankle underwent operative reduction and provisional fixation using the uninjured ankle radiographs as a template for comparison. An intraoperative computed tomography (CT) scan was obtained to verify the syndesmotic reduction before syndesmotic fixation. If the reduction was not anatomic, the reduction was revised using fluoroscopy and the CT repeated. MAIN OUTCOME MEASUREMENTS:: Accuracy of syndesmotic reduction performed using fluoroscopy and confirmed by intraoperative CT scan. RESULTS:: Using the technique described, intraoperative CT confirmed anatomic reduction initially in 17 of the 18 fractures. The 1 case where CT did change the course of treatment, revision of fibular fracture reduction resulted in an anatomic reduction of the syndesmosis on repeat CT. CONCLUSIONS:: Accurate evaluation of the syndesmotic reduction can be determined intraoperatively using comparison mortise and talar dome lateral fluoroscopic images. Direct visualization of the syndesmosis or CT may not be necessary to achieve an accurate reduction in these injuries.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)196-200
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of orthopaedic trauma
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2013


  • ankle fracture
  • syndesmosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine

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