Purpose: An increasing role of arthroscopy as the definitive treatment for ankle instability has been reported, and assisted or all-arthroscopic techniques have been developed. However, treatment of chronic ankle instability with poor remnant ligament-tissue quality is still challenging. The aim of this study was to describe the technique and report the results of the arthroscopic ATFL all-inside repair with suture augmentation to treat patients with poor remnant ligament-tissue quality.
Methods: Fifteen patients [9 men and 6 women, median age 30 (19-47) years] with chronic ankle instability and poor remnant ligament-tissue quality were treated by arthroscopic means after failing non-operative management. Median follow-up was 18 (12-23) months. Through an arthroscopic all-inside technique, and using a suture passer and two knotless anchors, the ligament was repaired. Then, the anchor's residual suture limbs were not cut, but were recycled and used for augmentation of the ligament repair.
Results: Arthroscopic examination demonstrated an isolated anterior talofibular ligament (ATFL) injury with poor remnant ligament tissue in the 15 patients. All patients reported subjective improvement in their ankle instability after the arthroscopic all-inside ligaments repair and suture augmentation. The median AOFAS score increased from 66 (44-87) preoperatively to 100 (85-100) at the final follow-up.
Conclusion: Chronic ankle instability with poor remnant ligament-tissue quality can be successfully treated by an arthroscopic all-inside repair and suture augmentation of the ligament. The clinical relevance of the study is the description of the first arthroscopic all-inside anatomic ATFL repair with suture augmentation that offers the benefit of maintaining the native ligament while reinforcing the repair, especially in patients with poor remnant ligament-tissue quality.
Level of evidence: IV, retrospective case series.
Keywords: Ankle arthroscopy; Anterior talofibular ligament; Chronic ankle instability; Ligament repair; Treatment.