Injury mechanism affects the stability of suture-button syndesmosis fixation

Kuan Hao Chen, Chih Hwa Chen*, Yu min Huang, Hsieh Hsing Lee, Yang Hwei Tsuang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Article peer-review

1 Scopus citations


Background: Ankle syndesmosis injury is a common condition, and the injury mechanism can be sorted into pure syndesmosis injury, Weber-B, and Weber-C type fractures. This study aims to evaluate the treatment outcomes and stability of suture-button fixation for syndesmosis injury with different injury mechanisms. We hypothesized that injury mechanisms would alter the stability of suture-button fixation. Methods: We retrospectively reviewed 63 patients with ankle syndesmosis injury who underwent surgery with TightRope (Arthrex, Naples, FL, USA) from April 2014 to February 2019. The stability of suture-button fixation with TightRope was evaluated by comparing the preoperative, postoperative, and final follow-up measurements of tibiofibular clear space (TFCS), tibiofibular overlap (TFO), and medial clear space (MCS). A subgroup analysis for each demographic group and injury type including pure syndesmosis injury, Weber-B, and Weber-C type fractures were performed. Results: Syndesmosis was effectively reduced using TightRope. After the index surgery, the tibiofibular clear space was reduced from 7.73 to 4.04 mm, the tibiofibular overlap was increased from 3.05 to 6.44 mm, and the medial clear space was reduced from 8.12 to 3.54 mm. However, syndesmosis widening was noted at the final follow-up, especially in Weber-C type fractures (TFCS 3.82 to 4.45 mm, p < 0.01 and TFO 6.86 to 6.29 mm, p = 0.04). Though widened, the final follow-up values of tibiofibular clear space and tibiofibular overlap were in the acceptable range. Postoperatively and at the final follow-up, medial clear space was found to be significantly larger in the Weber-C group than in the pure syndesmosis and Weber-B groups (p < 0.05). Conclusions: Suture-button fixation can offer anatomic reduction and dynamic fixation in syndesmosis injuries. However, when using this modality for Weber-C type fractures, more attention should be focused on the accuracy of reduction, especially of medial clear space, and rediastasis should be carefully monitored. Trial registration: This trial was retrospectively approved by TMU-JIRB. Registration number N202004122, and the date of approval was May 06, 2020. Level of evidence: III.

Original languageEnglish
Article number599
JournalJournal of Orthopaedic Surgery and Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - 12 2020
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020, The Author(s).


  • Diastasis
  • Dynamic fixation
  • Suture-button
  • Syndesmosis injury


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