Biomechanical comparison of suture-button, bioabsorbable screw, and metal screw for ankle syndesmotic repair: A meta-analysis.

Joseph S. Lee, Beaumont Health Resident
Bryan Curnutte
Karen Pan
Jiayong Liu
Nabil A. Ebraheim


BACKGROUND: To compare biomechanically metal screw fixation to suture-button or bioabsorbable screw fixation for ankle syndesmotic injuries.

METHODS: A literature search of the comparison studies in Pubmed and Google Scholar was conducted. The biomechanical outcomes of interest were syndesmotic stability in the coronal, sagittal, and axial planes as well as torque and rotation at failure.

RESULTS: A total of 11 cadaveric studies were included. In the suture-button group, coronal displacement (MD 1.72mm, p = 0.02) and sagittal displacement (MD 2.65mm, p = 0.0003) were increased relative to the metal screw group. In contrast, no difference was found with axial rotation (MD 0.35 degrees, p = 0.57). Bioabsorbable screws exhibited equivalent failure torque (MD -3.04Nm, p = 0.53) and rotation at failure (MD 3.77 degrees, p = 0.48) in comparison to metal screws.

CONCLUSIONS: Suture-button provide less rigidity when compared to metal screw fixation. They afford flexible syndesmotic micromotion which may more closely resemble a physiological state and be helpful for ligament healing. Bioabsorbable screws demonstrate similar mechanical strength properties to metal screws.