Correlation Between the Lauge-Hansen Classification and Ligament Injuries in Ankle Fractures

Stephen J. Warner, Matthew R. Garner, Richard M. Hinds, David L. Helfet, Dean G. Lorich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


Objective: To evaluate the ability of the Lauge-Hansen classification to predict ligament injuries in ankle fractures using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and intraoperative findings. Design: Prospective evaluation in consecutive patients. Setting: Academic level 1 trauma center. Patients: Three-hundred patients with an operatively treated ankle fracture who met the inclusion and exclusion criteria. Intervention: Injury ankle radiographs were assigned to a Lauge-Hansen classification. MRI scans were obtained to evaluate the syndesmotic and deltoid ligaments. A Lauge-Hansen classification for each patient was recorded based on intraoperative findings. Main Outcome Measurements: Comparisons were made between the predicted ankle ligamentous injuries based on radiographic Lauge-Hansen classifications, preoperative MRI analyses, and intraoperative findings. Results: On the basis of the Lauge-Hansen system and injury radiographs, 77% (231/300) were classified as supination external rotation, 13% (40/300) were pronation external rotation, 4% (11/300) were supination adduction, <1% (1/300) was pronation abduction, and 6% (17/300) were not classifiable. Of the 283 fractures that were classified into Lauge-Hansen classes, 266 (94%) had MRI readings of ligamentous injuries consistent with the Lauge-Hansen predictions. Intraoperative findings also highly correlated with the Lauge-Hansen class of ankle fractures, with nearly complete agreement. Comparing MRI and intraoperative findings revealed discrepancies in 6% (16/283) of ankle fracture classifications. Conclusions: In our large cohort of patients, comparisons between injury radiographs, preoperative MRI, and intraoperative findings suggest that the Lauge-Hansen system is an accurate predictor of ligamentous injuries. The predictions based on the Lauge-Hansen system can be useful for fracture reduction maneuvers and operative planning. Level of Evidence: Diagnostic Level II. See Instructions for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)574-578
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of orthopaedic trauma
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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