Objective: Owing to the shortcomings of clinical examination and radiographs, injury to the syndesmotic ligaments is often misdiagnosed. When there is no indication requiring that the fractured ankle be operated on, the syndesmosis is not tested intra-operatively, and rupture of this ligamentous complex may be missed. Subsequently the patient is not treated properly leading to chronic complaints such as instability, pain, and swelling. We evaluated three fracture classification methods and radiographic measurements with respect to syndesmotic injury. Materials and methods: Prospectively the radiographs of 51 consecutive ankle fractures were classified according to Weber, AO-Müller, and Lauge-Hansen. Both the fracture type and additional measurements of the tibiofibular clear space (TFCS), tibiofibular overlap (TFO), medial clear space (MCS), and superior clear space (SCS) were used to assess syndesmotic injury. MRI, as standard of reference, was performed to evaluate the integrity of the distal tibiofibular syndesmosis. The sensitivity and specificity for detection of syndesmotic injury with radiography were compared to MRI. Results: The Weber and AO-Müller fracture classification system, in combination with additional measurements, detected syndesmotic injury with a sensitivity of 47% and a specificity of 100%, and Lauge-Hansen with both a sensitivity and a specificity of 92%. TFCS and TFO did not correlate with syndesmotic injury, and a widened MCS did not correlate with deltoid ligament injury. Conclusion: Syndesmotic injury as predicted by the Lauge-Hansen fracture classification correlated well with MRI findings. With MRI the extent of syndesmotic injury and therefore fracture stage can be assessed more accurately compared to radiographs.

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doi.org/10.1007/s00256-011-1284-2, hdl.handle.net/1765/33821
Skeletal Radiology
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Hermans, J., Wentink, N., Beumer, A., Hop, W., Heijboer, R., Moonen, A. F. C. M., & Ginai, A. (2012). Correlation between radiological assessment of acute ankle fractures and syndesmotic injury on MRI. Skeletal Radiology, 41(7), 787–801. doi:10.1007/s00256-011-1284-2