Distal Tibiofibular Syndesmosis: Anatomy, Biomechanics, Injury and Management
PURPOSE Determination of the value of 13-MHz high-frequency ultrasound in the diagnosis of acute injuries of the lateral ankle ligaments and the anterior tibiofibular ligament by comparison with MRI. METHOD Sonography was performed prospectively in 64 acutely injured patients using a mechanical 13-MHz sector probe; for diagnosis of the anterior tibiofibular ligament a 15-MHz sector probe was employed during the course of this trial. Using a 0.2-T unit for MRI examination, T1-weighted (TR 580 ms, TE 24 ms) and T2-weighted (TR 3000 ms, TE 80 ms) spin-echo sequences were obtained in various oblique axial imaging planes. RESULTS In the differentiation of intact and injured ligaments, ultrasound and MRI agreed in 95.3% of cases for the anterior fibulotalar ligament, in 88.3% for the fibulocalcanear ligament and in 85.0% for the anterior tibiofibular ligament. CONCLUSION Lesions of the anterior talofibular and fibulocalcanear ligament can be accurately demonstrated by ultrasound if a 13-MHz sector scanner is used. The detection of lesions in the anterior tibiofibular ligament is more difficult. With increasing experience and by using a 15-MHz sector scanner, better results can be expected for this ligament.