Background: The quality of reduction of the distal tibiofibular joint (DTFJ) has a major impact on the outcome. Novel suture-button systems as well as intraoperative 3D imaging can be applied to increase the quality of DTFJ reduction intraoperatively. The individual effect of either remains unknown. The aim of this study was to investigate the value of intraoperative 3D imaging on the quality of reduction of the DTFJ when using a suture-button system.
Methods: Retrospective, radiographic study including adult patients who underwent surgical stabilization of the syndesmosis with a suture-button system for acute, unilateral, unstable syndesmotic injuries with postoperative bilateral CT imaging. The use of an intraoperative 3D scan was the individual surgeon's choice. Assessed was whether the intraoperative 3D imaging had an influence on the postoperative quality of DTFJ reduction and revision rates. These findings were put in perspective to the correction potential of the suture-button system.
Results: A total of 147 patients were included; 76 of these received an intraoperative 3D imaging. Neither the rate of formal malreduction (17% vs 17%) nor the postoperative revision rate (4% vs 3%) differed significantly between patients with or without intraoperative 3D imaging. Intraoperative 3D imaging revealed a false-negative rate of 14%. The intrinsic correction potential of the suture-button system reduced the number of formally malreduced DTFJs in both groups by 51%.
Conclusion: The additional value of intraoperative 3D imaging to assess the quality of DTFJ reduction in our series did not improve syndesmotic reduction when using a flexible suture-button system.
Level of evidence: Level III, retrospective comparative cohort study.
Keywords: intraoperative 3D imaging; reduction; suture-button system; syndesmosis.