Treatment of Syndesmotic Disruptions with the Arthrex Tightrope™: A Report of 25 Cases

Orthopedic Foot and Ankle Center, Sarasota Orthopedic Associates, 2750 Bahia Vista, Suite 100, Sarasota, FL 34239, USA.
Foot & Ankle International (Impact Factor: 1.51). 09/2008; 29(8):773-80. DOI: 10.3113/FAI.2008.0773
Source: PubMed


The complexity of syndesmotic injuries, often with both bone and soft tissue injury mandates an expeditious diagnosis and treatment to avoid unfavorable long term outcomes. Various methods of fixation of the syndesmosis have been reported. We present the largest series evaluating the Arthrex Tightrope for management of syndesmotic injuries.
Twenty-five patients with disruption of the distal tibiofibular articulation underwent treatment with an Arthrex Tightrope. In 21 cases, a single tightrope was placed, and in four cases, two tightropes were utilized. Associated ankle fractures were treated using proper AO technique. Those patients with diabetes and/or neuroarthropathic changes foot or ankle were not included in this study. Postoperative evaluation parameters included radiographic measurements, a modified AOFAS scoring system and SF-12.
Average followup was 10.8 months. The mean time to full weightbearing was 5.5 (range, 2 to 8) weeks. Postoperative radiographic analysis of the mean distance from the tibial plafond to the placement of the tightrope(s), medial clear space, average postoperative tibiofibular overlap and the mean tibiofibular clear space demonstrated no evidence of re-displacement of the syndesmotic complex at an average of 10.8 (range, 6 to 12) months. The modified AOFAS hindfoot scoring scale and SF-12 both demonstrated significant improvements; preoperative values were assessed in the office with the first patient visit as they are incorporated into the patient intake form that each patient fills out at the initial visit.
Utilization of the tightrope in diastasis of the syndesmosis should be considered as a good option. The method of placement is quick, can be minimally invasive, and obviates the need for hardware removal. In this series, it maintained excellent reduction of the syndesmosis.

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    • "However, tightrope may become loose and syndesmotic diastasis may reoccur in a long term [19]. In addition, it lacks the ability of reducing syndesmotic diastasis [20,21]. Therefore, we designed the assembled bolt-tightrope system (ABTS) to combine the advantages of both the syndesmotic bolt and tightrope. "
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    ABSTRACT: Syndesmotic diastasis is a common injury. Syndesmotic bolt and tightrope are two of the commonly used methods for the fixation of syndesmotic diastasis. Syndesmotic bolt can be used to reduce and maintain the syndesmosis. However, it cannot permit the normal range of motion of distal tibiofibular joint, especially the rotation of the fibula. Tightrope technique can be used to provide flexible fixation of the syndesmosis. However, it lacks the ability of reducing the syndesmotic diastasis. To combine the advantages of both syndemostic bolt and tightrope techniques and simultaneously avoid the potential disadvantages of both techniques, we designed the assembled bolt-tightrope system (ABTS). The purpose of this study was to evaluate the primary effectiveness of ABTS in treating syndesmotic diastasis. From October 2010 to June 2011, patients with syndesmotic diastasis met the inclusion criteria were enrolled into this study and treated with ABTS. Patients were followed up at 2, 6 weeks and 6, 12 months after operation. The functional outcomes were assessed according to the American Orthopedic Foot and Ankle Society (AOFAS) scores at 12 months follow-up. Patients' satisfaction was evaluated based upon short form-12 (SF-12) health survey questionnaire. The anteroposterior radiographs of the injured ankles were taken, and the medial clear space (MCS), tibiofibular overlap (TFOL), and tibiofibular clear space (TFCS) were measured. All hardwares were routinely removed at 12-month postoperatively. Follow-ups continued. The functional and radiographic assessments were done again at the latest follow-up. Twelve patients were enrolled into this study, including 8 males and 4 females with a mean age of 39.5 years (range, 26 to 56 years). All patients also sustained ankle fractures. At 12 months follow-up, the mean AOFAS score was 95.4 (range, 85 to 100), and all patients were satisfied with the functional recoveries. The radiographic MCS, TFOL, and TFCS were within the normal range in all patients. After hardware removal, follow-up continued. At the latest follow-up (28 months on average, (range, 25 to 33 months) from internal fixation), the mean AOFAS score was 96.3 (range, 85 to 100), without significant difference with those assessed at 12 months after fixation operations. No syndesmotic diastasis reoccurred based upon the latest radiographic assessment. ABTS can be used to reduce the syndesmotic diastasis and provide flexible fixation in a minimally invasive fashion. It seems to be an effective alternative technique to treat syndesmotic diastasis.
    Scandinavian Journal of Trauma Resuscitation and Emergency Medicine 09/2013; 21(1):71. DOI:10.1186/1757-7241-21-71 · 2.03 Impact Factor
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    • "The clinical studies involved 149 ankles in six studies, with four of these studies being case series [6–8, 36, 38, 42]. The studies demonstrated high functional results with the AOFAS score; there was faster rehabilitation with the suture-button than with screw fixation. "
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    ABSTRACT: Syndesmotic rupture is present in 10 % of ankle fractures and must be recognized and treated to prevent late complications. The method of fixation is classically rigid fixation with one or two screws. Knowledge of the biomechanics of the syndesmosis has led to the development of new dynamic implants to restore physiologic motion during walking. One of these implants is the suture-button system. The purpose of this paper is to review the orthopaedic trauma literature, both biomechanical and clinical, to present the current state of knowledge on the suture-button fixation and to put emphasis on the advantages and disadvantages of this technique. Two investigators searched the databases of Pubmed/Medline, Cochrane Clinical Trial Register and Embase independently. The search interval was from January 1980 to March 2011. The search keys comprised terms to identify articles on biomechanical and clinical issues of flexible fixation of syndesmotic ruptures. Ninety-nine publications met the search criteria. After filtering using the exclusion criteria, 11 articles (five biomechanical and six clinical) were available for review. The biomechanical studies involved 90 cadaveric ankles. The suture-button demonstrated good resistance to axial and rotational loads (equivalent to screws) and resistance to failure. Physiologic motion of the syndesmosis was restored in all directions. The clinical studies (149 ankles) demonstrated good functional results using the AOFAS score, indicating faster rehabilitation with flexible fixation than with screws. There were few complications. Preliminary results from the current literature support the use of suture-button fixation for syndesmotic ruptures. This method seems secure and safe. As there is no strong evidence for its use, prospective randomized controlled trials to compare the suture-button to the screw fixation for ankle syndesmotic ruptures are required.
    Strategies in Trauma and Limb Reconstruction 10/2012; 7(3). DOI:10.1007/s11751-012-0147-2
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    • "Cottom et al. published their series treated with a TightRope in 2008. In 2009 apparently the outcome of these same patients was compared to a series of patients treated with a syndesmotic screw [10, 11]. The study type is not stated in both articles, but is most likely a retrospective comparative because of the difference in follow-up. "
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    ABSTRACT: Recently, a new suture-button fixation device has emerged for the treatment of acute distal tibiofibular syndesmotic injuries and its use is rapidly increasing. The current systematic review was undertaken to compare the biomechanical properties, functional outcome, need for implant removal, and the complication rate of syndesmotic disruptions treated with a suture-button device with the current 'gold standard', i.e. the syndesmotic screw. A literature search in the electronic databases of the Cochrane Library, EMbase, Pubmed Medline, and Google Scholar, between January 1st 2000 to December 1st 2011, was conducted to identify studies in which unstable ankle fractures with concomitant distal tibiofibular syndesmotic injury were treated with either a syndesmotic screw or a suture-button device. A total of six biomechanical studies, seven clinical full-text studies and four abstracts on the TightRope system, and 27 studies on syndesmotic screw or bolt fixation were identified. The AOFAS of 133 patients treated with TightRope was 89.1 points, with an average study follow-up of 19 months. The AOFAS score in studies with 253 patients treated with syndesmotic screws (metallic and absorbable) or bolts was 86.3 points, with an average study follow-up of 42 months. Two studies reported an earlier return to work in the TightRope group. Implant removal was reported in 22 (10%) of 220 patients treated with a TightRope (range, 0-25%), in the screw or bolt group the average was 51.9% of 866 patients (range, 5.8-100%). The TightRope system has a similar outcome compared with the syndesmotic screw or bolt fixation, but might lead to a quicker return to work. The rate of implant removal is lower than in the syndesmotic screw group. There is currently insufficient evidence on the long-term effects of the TightRope and more uniform outcome reporting is desirable. In addition, there is a need for studies on cost-effectiveness of the treatment of acute distal tibiofibular syndesmotic disruption treated with a suture-button device.
    International Orthopaedics 02/2012; 36(6):1199-206. DOI:10.1007/s00264-012-1500-2 · 2.11 Impact Factor
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