The predictive value of MRI in the syndesmotic instability of ankle fracture

Young Hwan Park, Min A. Yoon, Won Seok Choi, Gi Won Choi, Suk-Joo Hong, Hak Jun Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: Although many types of ankle fracture can be combined with syndesmosis injury, preoperative imaging studies rarely reveal instability of the syndesmosis. This study assessed the use of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) for syndesmotic instability in patients with unstable ankle fracture. Methods: A total of 74 patients who were treated for Lauge-Hansen supination external rotation/Weber B type fracture or pronation external rotation/Weber C type fracture and who underwent MRI for preoperative assessment were enrolled. The MRI findings of the syndesmotic ligament and the results of an intraoperative stress test were evaluated. Results: Twenty-six patients had a positive result on the intraoperative stress test for syndesmotic instability. The MRI findings of the syndesmotic ligaments revealed that complete tear of the posterior inferior tibiofibular ligament (PITFL) was the most reliable predictor of syndesmotic instability (sensitivity, 74%; specificity, 78%; positive predictive value, 54%). Interobserver agreement for the intraoperative stress test and MRI assessment was excellent, except for the MRI findings of the interosseous ligament (62% agreement; kappa, 0.3). Conclusions: Complete tear of the PITFL on MRI has additional diagnostic value for syndesmotic instability in ankle fracture. However, because the sensitivity might not be sufficient to justify the costs associated with MRI, cost-effectiveness should be considered.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)533-540
Number of pages8
JournalSkeletal Radiology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Apr 1


  • Ankle fracture
  • Intraoperative stress test
  • Magnetic resonance imaging
  • Syndesmotic instability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging

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