Assessing Quality of Syndesmotic Reduction in Surgically Treated Acute Syndesmotic Injuries: A Systematic Review

Stein B. van den Heuvel, Siem A. Dingemans, Tjibbe J. Gardenbroek, Tim Schepers

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleAcademicpeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


There is no universal method with cutoff values for the assessment of distal tibiofibular joint reduction in acute syndesmotic injuries. It is important to detect malreductions because they may lead to impaired functional outcome and may demand reoperations. The aim of this study was to systematically review the literature to evaluate the appropriateness of different image techniques in determining syndesmotic malalignment. A literature search was conducted in Medline, Embase, and the Cochrane Library to search for articles assessing syndesmotic reduction. Excluded were articles where no criteria and/or measurements for syndesmotic reduction were provided, only normative values were provided and reviews. In total, 2157 articles were found, of which 1421 studies were screened for title and abstract after exclusion of duplicates. One hundred ten studies were eligible for full-text analysis. Of these, 61 were excluded. Three studies where added after screening the included references. Fifty-two studies were included, of which 32 were original publications and 20 were publications referring to the original publications. From the original publications, 14 used plains radiographs, 19 computed tomographic (CT) scans, and 5 used 3-dimensional CT scans (some authors used >1 modality in their study). For each modality, a large number of parameters and different cutoff values were reported. CT scanning is superior to plain radiography in the assessment of the quality of joint reduction. Parameters used the most were fibular position in the incisura and fibular rotation. The criteria for adequate reduction should at least include the position of the fibula in the incisura and rotation of the fibula, while ensuring adequate fibular length, all equaling or at least approaching the values of the uninjured contralateral side.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)144-150
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Foot and Ankle Surgery
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2019

Cite this