Introduction: Precise placement of sustentaculum tali screw(s) is essential for restoring anatomy and biomechanical stability of the calcaneus. This can be challenging due to the small target area and presence of neurovascular structures on the medial side. The aim was to evaluate the precision of positioning of the subchondral posterior facet screw and processus anterior calcanei screw with or without a Screw Targeting Clamp. The secondary aim was to evaluate the added value of peroperative 3D imaging over 2D radiographs alone. Methods: Twenty Anubifix™ embalmed, human anatomic lower limb specimens were used. A subchondral posterior facet screw and a processus anterior calcanei screw were placed using an extended lateral approach. A senior orthopedic trauma surgeon experienced in calcaneal fracture surgery and a senior resident with limited experience in calcaneal surgery performed screw fixation in five specimens with and in five specimens without the clamp. 2D lateral and axial radiographs and a 3D recording were obtained postoperatively. Anatomical dissection was performed postoperatively as a diagnostic golden standard in order to obtain the factual screw positions. Blinded assessment of quality of fixation was performed by two surgeons. Results: In 2D, eight screws were considered malpositioned when placed with the targeting device versus nine placed freehand. In 3D recordings, two additional screws were malpositioned in each group as compared to the golden standard. As opposed to the senior surgeon, the senior resident seemed to get the best results using the Screw Targeting Clamp (number of malpositioned screws using freehand was eight, and using the targeting clamp five). In nine out of 20 specimens 3D images provided additional information concerning target area and intra-articular placement. Based on the 3D assessment, five additional screws would have required repositioning. Except for one, all screw positions were rated equally after dissection when compared with 3D examinations. Conclusion: This study does not show a substantial benefit between the Screw Targeting Clamp and the freehand technique as well between experienced and inexperienced surgeons. Data suggest that the clamp might help positioning sustentaculum tali screws, especially for inexperienced surgeons. Perioperative 3D recordings facilitate identification of malpositioned screws.

, , , , , , , ,,
Injury: International Journal of the Care of the Injured
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

de Boer, A., van Lieshout, E., Vellekoop, L. (Leonie), Knops, S., Kleinrensink, G. J., & Verhofstad, M. (2017). 2D and 3D assessment of sustentaculum tali screw fixation with or without Screw Targeting Clamp. Injury: International Journal of the Care of the Injured, 48(12), 2864–2871. doi:10.1016/j.injury.2017.10.035