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Long-Term Outcome of Pronation-External Rotation Ankle Fractures Treated with Syndesmotic Screws Only
Kaj T.A. Lambers, MSc1; Michel P.J. van den Bekerom, MD2; Job N. Doornberg, MD, PhD1; Sjoerd A.S. Stufkens, MD1; C. Niek van Dijk, MD, PhD1; Peter Kloen, MD, PhD1
1 Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Academic Medical Center Amsterdam, Meibergdreef 9, 1100 DD Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
2 Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Onze Lieve Vrouwe Gasthuis, P.O. Box 95500, 1090 HM Amsterdam, The Netherlands. E-mail address: bekerom@gmail.com.
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Investigation performed at Orthotrauma Research Center Amsterdam, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Academic Medical Center, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Disclosure: None of the authors received payments or services, either directly or indirectly (i.e., via his or her institution), from a third party in support of any aspect of this work. One or more of the authors, or his or her institution, has had a financial relationship, in the thirty-six months prior to submission of this work, with an entity in the biomedical arena that could be perceived to influence or have the potential to influence what is written in this work. No author has had any other relationships, or has engaged in any other activities, that could be perceived to influence or have the potential to influence what is written in this work. The complete Disclosures of Potential Conflicts of Interest submitted by authors are always provided with the online version of the article.

Copyright © 2013 by The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, Inc.
J Bone Joint Surg Am, 2013 Sep 04;95(17):e122 1-7. doi: 10.2106/JBJS.L.00426
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There is sparse information in the literature on the outcome of Maisonneuve-type pronation-external rotation ankle fractures treated with syndesmotic screws. The primary aim of this study was to determine the long-term results of such treatment of these fractures as indicated by standardized patient-based and physician-based outcome measures. The secondary aim was to identify predictors of the outcome with use of bivariate and multivariate statistical analysis.


Fifty patients with pronation-external rotation (predominantly Maisonneuve) fractures were treated with open reduction and internal fixation of the syndesmosis utilizing only one or two screws. The results were evaluated at a mean of twenty-one years after the fracture utilizing three standardized outcomes instruments: (1) the Foot and Ankle Ability Measure (FAAM), (2) the American Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society (AOFAS) ankle-hindfoot scale, and (3) the Center for Epidemiologic Studies-Depression (CES-D) Scale. Osteoarthritis was graded according to the van Dijk and revised Takakura radiographic scoring systems. Bivariate and multivariate analyses were performed to identify predictors of long-term outcome.


Forty-four (92%) of forty-eighty patients had good or excellent AOFAS scores, and forty-four (90%) of forty-nine had good or excellent FAAM scores. Arthrodesis for severe osteoarthritis was performed in two patients. Radiographic evidence of osteoarthritis was observed in twenty-four (49%) of forty-nine patients. Multivariate analysis identified pain as the most important independent predictor of long-term ankle function as indicated by the AOFAS and FAAM scores, explaining 91% and 53% of the variation in scores, respectively. Analysis of pain as the dependent variable in bivariate analyses revealed that depression, ankle range of motion, and a subsequent surgery were significantly correlated with higher pain scores. No firm conclusions could be drawn after multivariate analysis of predictors of pain.


Long-term functional outcomes at a mean of twenty-one years after pronation-external rotation ankle fractures treated with one or two syndesmotic screws were good to excellent in the great majority of patients despite substantial radiographic evidence of osteoarthritis in one-half of the patients. The most important predictor of long-term functional outcome was patient-reported pain rather than physician-reported function or posttraumatic osteoarthritis. There was no significant association between radiographic signs of posttraumatic osteoarthritis and perceived pain in the present series.

Level of Evidence: 

Therapeutic Level IV. See Instructions for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.

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    These activities have been planned and implemented in accordance with the Essential Areas and policies of the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) through the joint sponsorship of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons and The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, Inc. The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons is accredited by the ACCME to provide continuing medical education for physicians.
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