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Is It Possible to Overcompress the Syndesmosis?

Published:March 13, 2018DOI:https://doi.org/10.1053/j.jfas.2017.11.037

      Abstract

      The case we present suggests that it might be possible to overcompress the syndesmosis, causing subluxation of the talus within the ankle mortise. A 26-year-old female patient had had a Weber Type C ankle fracture internally fixed with a lateral plate and syndesmosis screws. Despite the fibula appearing well reduced and computed tomography imaging showing a well-aligned fibula within the fibular notch, anteromedial subluxation of the talus was present in the ankle mortise. Examination with the patient under anesthesia revealed a stable syndesmosis fixation; however, talar malpositioning was not affected by the foot position. The syndesmosis fixation was revised sequentially. As the fixation was relaxed sequentially, the talus appeared to reduce within the ankle mortise, with restoration of the previously obliterated medial clear space. The syndesmosis was stabilized with a single 3.5-mm cortical screw in a reduced position. The patient had made a full recovery at the 12-month follow-up examination, having undergone elective syndesmosis screw removal at 12 weeks postoperatively. Several studies have suggested that it might not be possible to overcompress the syndesmosis and have even advocated the use of a lag screw technique for syndesmosis fixation. Based on the present case, we would advise a degree of caution with this approach, because it might be possible to overcompress the syndesmosis and cause significant subluxation of the tibiotalar articulation.

      Level of Clinical Evidence

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