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Tibiofibular Space Widening Assessment With a Ball-Tipped Probe in a Syndesmosis Injury Model

      ABSTRACT

      Assessment of syndesmotic instability is not precise with existing evaluation methods. This study was conducted to investigate the use of a ball-tipped probe under arthroscopy for quantitative assessment of tibiofibular space widening in a syndesmosis injury model. The test specimens were 5 uninjured ankles from Thiel-fixed cadavers of 2 male subjects and 3 female subjects of mean age of 82.4 years at death. The ball-tipped probe consisted of a metal probe having a ball at each end with diameters ranging from of 1.5 mm to 5.0 mm, in increments of 0.5 mm. The tibiofibular joint was observed arthroscopically as the largest-diameter ball probe as possible was inserted into its anterior third, middle, or posterior third portion with the ankle in natural plantarflexion or under external rotational stress. These measurements were performed for the uninjured ankle and then performed following Bassett's ligament sectioning, anterior inferior tibiofibular ligament sectioning, interosseous membrane distal 15 cm sectioning, or deltoid ligament, and posterior inferior tibiofibular ligament sectioning, with the sections added in this sequence and each followed by a similar assessment. The results of quantitative assessment of tibiofibular space widening with the ball-tipped probe in the syndesmosis injury model under arthroscopy were that the maximum possible diameter of ball probe that could be inserted was 1.5 to 2.0 mm in the uninjured state, 3.0 to 3.5 mm in the sectioned anterior inferior tibiofibular ligament model, and 5.0 mm in the severe-state model. The ball probe can serve as an effective tool for quantitative assessment of the intraoperative instability in cases of syndesmosis injury.

      Level of Clinical Evidence

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