Outcomes of the Routine Removal of the Syndesmotic Screw

Cureus. 2022 Jul 9;14(7):e26675. doi: 10.7759/cureus.26675. eCollection 2022 Jul.


Background Ankle joint stabilization with fixation following an injury has been the practice for ankle injuries requiring stabilization. When syndesmotic screws are used to stabilize the ankle joint, the current practice encourages the removal of these screws. However, this study was performed to evaluate the outcomes of patients treated with these screws, with the view to challenging routine screw removal. Methodology This was a retrospective study analyzing the records of 52 patients who had been treated with the syndesmotic screw over a two-year span. Results Of the 26 patients who did not retain the screw, 84.6% (n = 22) had it removed based on the advice of the surgeon as per the current practice. In total, 19 (73.1%) of these patients had suffered at least one complication over the two procedures. Conversely, of the 23 patients who had retained the screw through one procedure, 14 (60.7%) had at least one complication. Conclusions Routine syndesmotic screw removal is associated with increased risks of complications compared to retaining the screws, in addition to not producing a superior outcome for the patients.

Keywords: complication; surgeon preference; syndesmotic screw; weber b; weber c.