Introduction: The purpose of this study is to evaluate the intra- and inter-observer reliability of low-dose protocolled bilateral postoperative Computed Tomography (CT)-assessment of rotational malalignment after intramedullary nailing (IMN) of tibial shaft fractures. Materials and methods: 156 patients were prospectively included with tibial shaft fractures that were treated with IMN in a Level-I Trauma Centre. All patients underwent post-operative bilateral low-dose CT-assessment (effective dose of 0.03784 – 0.05768 mGy) as per hospital protocol. Four observers performed the validated reproducible measurements of tibial torsion in degrees, based on standardized techniques. The Intra-Class Coefficient (ICC) was calculated to evaluate intra- and inter-observer reliability. The intra- and inter-observer reliability was categorized according to Landis and Koch. Results: Intra-observer reliability for quantification of rotational malalignment on post-operative CT after IMN of tibial shaft fractures was excellent with 0.95 (95% CI = 0.92-0.97). The overall inter-observer reliability was 0.90 (95% CI = 0.87-0.92), also excellent according Landis and Koch. Conclusion: Firstly, bilateral post-operative low-dose –similar radiation exposure as plain chest radiographs– CT assessment of tibial rotational alignment is a reliable diagnostic imaging modality to assess rotational malalignment in patients following IMN of tibial shaft fractures and it allows for early revision surgery. Secondly, it may contribute to our understanding of the incidence-, predictors- and clinical relevance of post-operative tibial rotational malalignment in patients treated with IMN for a tibial shaft fracture, and facilitates future studies on this topic.
- Bilateral low-dose CT assessments and reliability measurement technique
- Intramedullary nailing
- Rotational malalignment
- Tibial shaft fractures