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Type: Journal article
Title: Flexor tenorrhaphy tensile strength: Reduction by cyclic loading
Author: Gibbons, C.
Thompson, D.
Sandow, M.
Citation: Hand, 2009; 4(2):113-118
Publisher: Springer New York LLC
Issue Date: 2009
ISSN: 1558-9447
Statement of
C. E. R. Gibbons, D. Thompson and M. J. Sandow
Abstract: The integrity of the repair is critical to maintain coaptation of the severed flexor tendon end until healing has advanced sufficiently. In our hospital, we use a modified Savage repair (four-strand Adelaide technique) using 3–0 Ethibond (Ethicon, Somerville, NJ, USA) for acute flexor tenorrhaphy and an active postrepair mobilization protocol. To explain the apparent differences between the theoretical and actual repair strength of a multistrand repair in a single tension test and the reduced strength of a repair subjected to cyclic loading, we compared single and cyclical tensile loading with different suture in vitro configurations of 3–0 Ethibond (Ethicon, Somerville, NJ, USA; one, two, and four strands) and an ex vivo four-strand repair of freshly divided porcine tendon to calculate the ultimate tensile strength (UTS). Mechanical testing was repeated 15 times with both single tensile and cyclical loading for each suture configuration and porcine repair. In the in vitro model, the presence of a knot in a single strand reduced the UTS by 50%. The stiffness of a knotted strand was substantially less than the unknotted strand but became identical after cyclical loading. There was no statistical significance of the UTS between single and cyclical loading with different numbers of strands in this model. In the ex vivo four-strand porcine repair model, there was a significant reduction in UTS with cyclical loading, which equated to the number of strands times the strength of the knotted strand. This discrepancy can be explained by the change in stiffness of the knotted strand after cyclical loading and has important implications for previous studies of suture tendon repair using single tensile loading where the UTS may have been overestimated. We believe that cyclical loading is more representative of physiological loading after acute flexor tendon repair and should be the testing model of choice in suture tenorrhaphy studies.
Keywords: Flexor
Cyclic loading
Rights: Copyright American Association for Hand Surgery 2008
DOI: 10.1007/s11552-008-9151-x
Appears in Collections:Aurora harvest 5
Orthopaedics and Trauma publications

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