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The effect of modified locking methods and suture materials on Zone II flexor tendon repair—An ex vivo study

Yoneda, Susumu; Okubo, Hirotaka; Linderman, Stephen W.; Kusano, Nozomu; Silva, Matthew J.; Thomopoulos, Stavros; Kanaya, Fuminori; Gelberman, Richard H.; Columbia University. Orthopaedic Surgery; Columbia University. Biomedical Engineering

The failure rate of intrasynovial tendon repair is high due to substantial elongation at the repair site and to the development of adhesions between the tendon’s surface and the surrounding digital sheath. To minimize these complications, we sought to reduce the incidence of gapping and to facilitate the initiation of early motion by improving the time zero structural properties of repair. The Winters-Gelberman 8-strand repair technique was modified by adding surface lock loops and by using Fiberwire suture material. Forty-eight canine flexor digitorum profundus tendons were transected and repaired with one of three 8-strand techniques (Pennington modified Kessler, half hitch loops, or surface locking Kessler) using either 3–0 Supramid or 4–0 Fiberwire suture. Biomechanical testing was performed to determine the physiologic and failure mode properties of the repairs. The surface locking Kessler technique improved repair maximum load, load necessary to create a 2 mm repair site gap, and yield force compared to the modified Kessler and half hitch loop techniques. Fiberwire suture improved maximum load, the load necessary to create a 2 mm repair site gap, stiffness, and yield force compared to Supramid suture. Failure occurred by both suture pull out and by suture breakage in the modified Kessler, Supramid suture repair group. Failure occurred consistently by suture breakage in the surface locking Kessler, Supramid suture repair group. These results reveal that a novel locking Kessler repair is significantly stronger than the current state-of-the art flexor tendon suture repair technique. The use of a surface locking Kessler technique with Fiberwire suture markedly improves the mechanical properties of intrasynovial tendon repair by reducing the risk of post-operative gapping and rupture.

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November 16, 2018
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