A Novel Fluoroscopic Method for Assessing Rotational Malalignment of the Tibia

J Orthop Trauma. 2022 Jan 1;36(1):e12-e17. doi: 10.1097/BOT.0000000000002151.


Objective: To evaluate the accuracy and reliability of a novel fluoroscopic technique for assessing tibial rotation and compare it with a previously described fluoroscopic method.

Methods: A multiplanar circular ring external fixator was secured to the tibial diaphysis of 5 cadaveric lower extremity specimens. Using deformity correction software, the frame and tibia were programed to randomly rotate 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, and 30 degrees of internal and external rotation. After each rotation, 2 blinded, independent observers measured the degree of tibial rotation using 2 different fluoroscopic methods: the previously described "mortise" method and the novel "intermalleolar" method. A total of 65 measurements were made by each observer. Accuracy and interobserver reliability were calculated.

Results: Both intermalleolar and mortise methods had a mean absolute rotational difference from the true torsion of 3 degrees (standard error 1; range, 0-10 degrees intermalleolar vs. 0-18 degrees mortise). We found that 98.5% (128/130) of measurements using the intermalleolar method were less than 10 degrees from the true rotation compared with 93.8% (122/130) using the mortise method. Both the intermalleolar and the mortise methods had excellent interobserver reliability (intraclass correlation coefficient 0.99 and 0.96, respectively).

Conclusion: Measuring tibial rotation fluoroscopically using the intermalleolar method is both accurate and reliable. Compared with the previously described mortise method, it has similar accuracy and provides a value that approximates the true tibial rotation. Also, it can be used reliably and effectively intraoperatively to identify tibial malrotation and assist in intraoperative rotational corrections.

MeSH terms

  • Fluoroscopy
  • Humans
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Tibia* / diagnostic imaging
  • Tibia* / surgery