Functional Outcomes of Syndesmotic Injuries Based on Objective Reduction Accuracy at a Minimum 1-Year Follow-Up

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Abstract

Objective:

To evaluate whether objective syndesmosis reduction predicts functional outcomes and pain scores in patients with operatively treated syndesmotic injuries at a minimum 1-year follow-up.

Design:

Prospective Cohort.

Setting:

Urban Level I Trauma Center.

Patients:

Sixty-nine patients with operatively treated syndesmotic injuries were initially identified and consented for inclusion in the study. Nine patients were excluded perioperatively. Twelve patients were lost to follow-up. Forty-eight patients with operatively treated unilateral syndesmotic injuries were available and participated at the final follow-up.

Intervention:

Trans-syndesmotic stabilization with either 1 or 2 quadricortical position screws. Postoperatively, bilateral ankle computed tomography scans were obtained to objectively assess syndesmosis reduction accuracy.

Main Outcome Measurements:

Olerud–Molander Ankle Score, Short Musculoskeletal Function Assessment Dysfunction Index and Bother Index, and Numeric Pain Rating Scales at a minimum 1-year postoperative follow-up.

Results:

At 1-year follow-up, there was no significant difference in functional outcomes between reduced and malreduced groups at the 1.5-, 2-, and 3-mm thresholds for linear measurements. Similarly, there was no functional difference between the reduced and malreduced groups for rotational malreductions at a 10 or 15 degrees threshold. Patients with state-sponsored insurance (Medicaid) had significantly worse functional scores and pain scores when compared with the groups with private insurance, Medicare, or no insurance.

Conclusions:

At 1-year follow-up, functional outcomes were not related to objective measures of syndesmosis reduction.

Level of Evidence:

Prognostic Level II. See Instructions for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.

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