Comparison of the mechanical properties and mechanical damages to tendon tissue in three suspensory fixation techniques

Asia Pac J Sports Med Arthrosc Rehabil Technol. 2022 Jul 31;30:1-8. doi: 10.1016/j.asmart.2022.05.003. eCollection 2022 Oct.


BACKGROUND: Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury is the most common traumatic injury to the knee joint. Suspensory fixation has become popular in ACL reconstruction because of its high primary stability, less invasiveness, and surgical convenience. There are two common types of suspensory fixation devices: those with fixed-length and those with adjustable-length loops. Owing to structural differences and differences in initial tensioning techniques, it is expected that mechanical property and damage to the tendons will vary from device to device; however, no literature has examined this so far. The main purpose of this study was to evaluate the damage caused to the tendon by three different suspensory fixation devices. An effective mechanical test was carried out as a prerequisite.

METHODS: First, the mechanical properties of simple loop device (SLD) as fixed-length loop device, first-generation, and second-generation adjustable devices (AD1 and AD2) as adjustable-length loop devices were tested (isolated device testing). Second, each device was tested using bovine extensor tendons (specimen testing). Cyclic testing included 2000 cycles; the devices were subsequently displaced until failure, and the ultimate tensile strength was determined using isolated device testing. Six samples of 3 devices were used in each testing experiment. After specimen testing, the surface structure of the tendon was evaluated quantitatively using optical coherence tomography (OCT) and our original histological scoring system.

RESULTS: During isolated device testing, SLD demonstrated the least cyclic displacement, followed by AD1 and AD2. The highest ultimate tensile strength was observed in AD2, followed by SLD and AD1. In specimen testing, the least cyclic displacement was observed in SLD, followed by AD1 and AD2. Histologically, AD1 demonstrated a significantly lower score, with damaged surface morphology, than SLD and AD2. OCT values were significantly higher, with a more disturbing tendon surface structure, in AD1 than in SLD and AD2.

CONCLUSIONS: The first-generation adjustable loop device exhibited greatest graft tissue damage at the suspensory site in a clinically relevant setting. The thinner adjustable loop mechanism may have elevated graft damage by frictional stresses during loop adjustment or by repetitive tensioning stresses.

PMID:35949263 | PMC:PMC9343929 | DOI:10.1016/j.asmart.2022.05.003


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