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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    • "As we did not routinely remove the syndesmosis screws, the different rate of late syndesmosis diastasis may be attributed to different biomechanics of the fixation devices. Most of previous investigations evaluating TightRope fixation for unstable syndesmosis have reported 0% malreduction rates, but they employed only plain radiography to assess malreduction[25,26,28,29,31,33,34]. Only the study by Treon et al.[34]reported 11% syndesmosis malreduction rate when TightRope was used. "
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    ABSTRACT: The accuracy and maintenance of syndesmosis reduction are essential when treating ankle fractures with accompanying syndesmosis injuries. The primary aim of this study was to compare syndesmosis screw and TightRope fixation in terms of accuracy and maintenance of syndesmosis reduction using bilateral computed tomography (CT). Single centre, prospective randomised controlled clinical trial; Level of evidence 1. This study (, NCT01742650) compared fixation with TightRope(®) (Arthrex, Naples, FL, USA) or with one 3.5-mm tricortical trans-syndesmotic screw in terms of accuracy and maintenance of syndesmosis reduction in Lauge-Hansen pronation external rotation, Weber C-type ankle fractures with associated syndesmosis injury. Twenty-one patients were randomised to TightRope fixation and 22 to syndesmotic screw fixation. Syndesmosis reduction was assessed using bilateral CT intraoperatively or postoperatively, and also at least 2 years after surgery. Functional outcomes and quality of life were assessed using the Olerud-Molander score, a 100-mm Visual Analogue Scale, the Foot and Ankle Outcome Score, and the RAND 36-Item Health Survey. Grade of osteoarthritis was qualified with follow-up cone-beam CT. According to surgeons' assessment from intraoperative CT, screw fixation resulted in syndesmosis malreduction in one case whereas seven syndesmosis were considered malreduced when TightRope was used. However, open exploration and postoperative CT of these seven cases revealed that syndesmosis was well reduced if the ankle was supported at 90˚. Retrospective analysis of the intra- and post-operative CT by a radiologist showed that one patient in each group had incongruent syndesmosis. Follow-up CT identified three patients with malreduced syndesmosis in the syndesmotic screw fixation group, whereas malreduction was seen in one patient in the TightRope group (P=0.33). Functional scores and the incidence of osteoarthritis showed no significant difference between groups. Syndesmotic screw and TightRope had similar postoperative malreduction rates. However, intraoperative CT scanning of ankles with TightRope fixation was misleading due to dynamic nature of the fixation. After at least 2 years of follow-up, malreduction rates may slightly increase when using trans-syndesmotic screw fixation, but reduction was well maintained when fixed with TightRope. Neither the incidence of ankle joint osteoarthritis nor functional outcome significantly differed between the fixation methods. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
    No preview · Article · Feb 2015 · Injury
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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.
    Full-text · Article · Sep 2013 · Scandinavian Journal of Trauma Resuscitation and Emergency Medicine
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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.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2012 · Strategies in Trauma and Limb Reconstruction
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