Diagnostic Value of DECT-Based Collagen Mapping for Assessing the Distal Tibiofibular Syndesmosis in Patients with Acute Trauma

Leon David Gruenewald*, Daniel H. Leitner, Vitali Koch, Simon S. Martin, Ibrahim Yel, Scherwin Mahmoudi, Simon Bernatz, Katrin Eichler, Tatjana Gruber-Rouh, Daniel Pinto Dos Santos, Tommaso D’Angelo, Thomas J. Vogl, Christian Booz

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)
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Background: Injury to the distal tibiofibular syndesmosis (DTFS) is common in patients with trauma to the ankle, but diagnostic accuracy of conventional X-ray and CT is insufficient. A novel dual energy CT (DECT) post-processing algorithm enables color-coded mapping of collagenous structures, which can be utilized to assess the integrity of the DTFS. Methods: Patients were included in this retrospective study if they underwent third-generation dual-source DECT followed by 3T-MRI or ankle joint surgery within 14 days between January 2016 and December 2021. Three radiologists blinded to all patient data independently evaluated grayscale images and, after 8 weeks, grayscale and collagen mapping images for the presence of ligamentous injury or avulsion fractures of the DTFS. MRI and surgery provided the reference standard. Diagnostic accuracy parameters were calculated for all ratings, and a comparison of ROC curve analysis was performed to evaluate the incremental diagnostic value of color-coded images over grayscale images. Results: A total of 49 patients (median age 49 years; 32 males) were evaluated. Application of collagen mapping significantly increased sensitivity (25/30 [83%] vs. 20/30 [67%]), specificity (110/118 [93%] vs. 70/118 [60%]), positive predictive value (25/33 [76%] vs. 20/67 [30%]), negative predictive value (110/115 [96%] vs. 70/80 [88%]), and accuracy (134/147 [91%] vs. 90/147 [61%]) for the detection of injury to the DTFS (all parameters, p < 0.001). Collagen mapping achieved higher diagnostic confidence, image quality, and noise scores compared to grayscale CT (all parameters, p < 0.001). Conclusions: Collagen mapping yields substantially higher diagnostic accuracy and confidence for assessing the integrity of the distal tibiofibular syndesmosis compared to grayscale CT in patients with acute trauma. The application of this algorithm can accelerate the adequate diagnosis and treatment of DTFS injury in clinical routine.

Original languageEnglish
Article number533
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2023

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