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Maintenance of reduction with suture button fixation devices for ankle syndesmosis repair.

BACKGROUND: Malreduction of the syndesmosis can lead to increased peak pressures and subsequent arthritis. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the initial syndesmotic reduction and radiographic maintenance when using a knotless suture button fixation device for treatment of syndesmotic injury.

METHODS: A retrospective chart and radiographic review was performed to identify patients who underwent open reduction internal fixation of ankle syndesmosis ruptures treated with a knotless, suture button fixation system. Radiographic measurements included medial clear space, tibiofibular overlap, tibiofibular clear space, and the distance between buttons. Fifty-six patients underwent repair of an ankle fracture with syndesmotic rupture over a 3-year period, with a mean follow-up of 160.9 days.

RESULTS: The tibiofibular clear space and tibiofibular overlap significantly improved from pre- to first postoperative, but also demonstrated some loss of fixation at final follow-up (P < .001). The distance between the buttons increased on average 1.1 mm from immediate postoperative to final follow-up, demonstrating some postoperative creep and loss of fixation in the system. A low complication rate and need for a revision operation was found in our patient cohort. Some loss of reduction did occur postoperatively, although this did not correlate to adverse patient outcomes.

CONCLUSION: Syndesmotic stabilization, using a knotless suture button fixation device demonstrated adequate initial syndesmotic reduction, but also exhibited an increase in the tibiofibular clear space and tibiofibular overlap, relative to initial postfixation position, at short-term follow-up.

LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: Level IV, retrospective case series.

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