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Skeletal Radiol. 2006 Dec;35(12):935-41. Epub 2006 Mar 15.

Three-dimensional volume rendering of tibiofibular joint space and quantitative analysis of change in volume due to tibiofibular syndesmosis diastases.

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  • 1Orthopaedic Surgery Department, Medical University of Ohio, 3065 Arlington Avenue, Toledo, OH, 43614, USA. figentaser@yahoo.com



The diagnosis of ankle syndesmosis injuries is made by various imaging techniques. The present study was undertaken to examine whether the three-dimensional reconstruction of axial CT images and calculation of the volume of tibiofibular joint space enhances the sensitivity of diastases diagnoses or not.


Six adult cadaveric ankle specimens were used for spiral CT-scan assessment of tibiofibular syndesmosis. After the specimens were dissected, external fixation was performed and diastases of 1, 2, and 3 mm was simulated by a precalibrated device. Helical CT scans were obtained with 1.0-mm slice thickness. The data was transferred to the computer software AcquariusNET. Then the contours of the tibiofibular syndesmosis joint space were outlined on each axial CT slice and the collection of these slices were stacked using the computer software AutoCAD 2005, according to the spatial arrangement and geometrical coordinates between each slice, to produce a three-dimensional reconstruction of the joint space. The area of each slice and the volume of the entire tibiofibular joint space were calculated. The tibiofibular joint space at the 10th-mm slice level was also measured on axial CT scan images at normal, 1, 2 and 3-mm joint space diastases.


The three-dimensional volume-rendering of the tibiofibular syndesmosis joint space from the spiral CT data demonstrated the shape of the joint space and has been found to be a sensitive method for calculating joint space volume. We found that, from normal to 1 mm, a 1-mm diastasis increases approximately 43% of the joint space volume, while from 1 to 3 mm, there is about a 20% increase for each 1-mm increase.


Volume calculation using this method can be performed in cases of syndesmotic instability after ankle injuries and for preoperative and postoperative evaluation of the integrity of the tibiofibular syndesmosis.

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