ORIF failure

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Has anyone experienced a failure of the syndesmosis and fibula union? My xays show the space between the distal end of the fibula and ankle is opening.My doctor is going to try and repair it but if not it will need to be fused.

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  • Posted

    I have several screws and one that goes thru one side of the ankle to the other. This is the one that is failing. It didn't look broken on the X-ray but rather the space between the fibula and ankle has opened up.

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    • Posted

      The 1st surgery I had a plate along the fibula and six  or more screws placed along both sides of my ankle. There was some type of support placed thru the ankle. I think they refer to it as a tight rope. This is what failed. It didn't break but did not keep the space between the fibula closed. I had seemed to be improving but continued to have pain. . I kept telling myself that the surgeon had said it would be a year so I kept plugging along doing physical therapy and returning to work. I work in a medical clinic and am on my feet all day. I e eventually developed posterior tendonitis. Finally at the six moth mark, in spite of felling guilty for being whiny, I was at my wits end and made another appointment with my surgeon. I actually saw the PA because I could get an earlier appt. They did New X-rays and he basically said you need more help than we can give you and referred me to I  another local (different practice) orthopedic surgeon that specializes more in foot and ankle surgery. She explained that due to the "tightrope failure" The syndesmosis was unstable and the fibula space was widening. While she thinks she can go in and do a debridement and add a longer plate and more hardware to reduce the space and give me a stable ankle - there's no guarantee. If she can't I will have no choice but to have a fusion. If she can fix it I will likely need and be a candidate for an ankle replacement down the road. I'm 55 now - evidently ankle replacements aren't one and done only lasting a certain period one time before you need another. 

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    • Posted

      I also had syndesmotic injury but had the screws put in. I am 13 1/2 weeks PO and I am not going to remove them. My surgeon basically told me that if I removed them it would be my decision and he was okay with just leaving them and letting them break. I don't want another surgery so I have decided to leave them in. So obviously your tightrope failed and this is why your syndesmosis is stretching. It's to bad they can't just go in again and put some syndesmotic screws through your tib and fib to fix it. 

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    • Posted

      My understanding is that my new surgeon plans is to add more screws to stabilize the ankle syndesmosis  closing the space where the fibula has shifted. She may have to place a longer plate along the fibula. She won't know for sure if she can close the Space enough until she goes in surgically. I too will be happy to leave all hardware in place. She tells me to be prepared for a similar recovery time as the first surgery. I was wondering about others experience with recovery and end result. I was luckily pain wise with the 1st surgery up to the point I started weight bearing. The idea of them going back in moving tugging drilling etc. .sounds like a long ouch. It's pretty amazing that 1 joint can be such a Booger bear.

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