Background: The complexity of syndesmotic injuries, often with both bone and soft tissue injury mandates an expeditious diagnosis and treatment to avoid unfavorable long term outcomes. Various methods of fixation of the syndesmosis have been reported. We present the largest series evaluating the Arthrex Tightrope for management of syndesmotic injuries.
Materials and methods: Twenty-five patients with disruption of the distal tibiofibular articulation underwent treatment with an Arthrex Tightrope. In 21 cases, a single tightrope was placed, and in four cases, two tightropes were utilized. Associated ankle fractures were treated using proper AO technique. Those patients with diabetes and/or neuroarthropathic changes foot or ankle were not included in this study. Postoperative evaluation parameters included radiographic measurements, a modified AOFAS scoring system and SF-12.
Results: Average followup was 10.8 months. The mean time to full weightbearing was 5.5 (range, 2 to 8) weeks. Postoperative radiographic analysis of the mean distance from the tibial plafond to the placement of the tightrope(s), medial clear space, average postoperative tibiofibular overlap and the mean tibiofibular clear space demonstrated no evidence of re-displacement of the syndesmotic complex at an average of 10.8 (range, 6 to 12) months. The modified AOFAS hindfoot scoring scale and SF-12 both demonstrated significant improvements; preoperative values were assessed in the office with the first patient visit as they are incorporated into the patient intake form that each patient fills out at the initial visit.
Conclusion: Utilization of the tightrope in diastasis of the syndesmosis should be considered as a good option. The method of placement is quick, can be minimally invasive, and obviates the need for hardware removal. In this series, it maintained excellent reduction of the syndesmosis.