The Medial Stitch in Transosseous-Equivalent Rotator Cuff Repair: Vertical or Horizontal Mattress?

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Abstract

Background:

Despite advances in surgical technique, rotator cuff repair retears continue to occur at rates of 10%, 22%, and 57% for small, medium, and large tears, respectively. A common mode of failure in transosseous-equivalent rotator cuff repairs is tissue pullout of the medial mattress stitch. While the medial mattress stitch has been studied extensively, no studies have evaluated a vertical mattress pattern placed near the musculotendinous junction in comparison with a horizontal mattress pattern.

Hypothesis:

Vertical mattress stitches will have higher load to failure and lower gapping compared with horizontal mattress stitches in a transosseous-equivalent rotator cuff repair.

Study Design:

Controlled laboratory study.

Methods:

Double-row transosseous-equivalent rotator cuff repairs were performed in 9 pairs of human male cadaveric shoulders (mean age ± SD, 58 ± 10 years). One shoulder in each pair received a medial-row suture pattern using a vertical mattress stitch, and the contralateral shoulder received a horizontal mattress. Specimens were mounted in a materials testing machine and tested in uniaxial tensile deformation for cyclic loading (500 cycles at 1 Hz to 1.0 MPa of effective stress), followed by failure testing carried out at a rate of 1 mm/s. Construct gapping and applied loads were monitored continuously throughout the testing.

Results:

Vertical mattress sutures were placed in 5 right and 4 left shoulders. Peak cyclic gapping did not differ between vertical (mean ± SD, 2.8 ± 1.1 mm) and horizontal mattress specimens (3.0 ± 1.2 mm) (P = .684). Vertical mattress sutures failed at higher loads compared with horizontal mattress sutures (568.9 ± 140.3 vs 451.1 ± 174.3 N; P = .025); however, there was no significant difference in failure displacement (8.0 ± 1.6 vs 6.0 ± 2.1 mm; P = .092). Failure stiffness did not differ between the suture patterns (P = .204).

Conclusion:

In transosseous-equivalent rotator cuff repairs near the musculotendinous junction, a vertical mattress suture used as the medial stitch has a higher load to failure but no difference in gapping compared with a horizontal mattress pattern.

Clinical Relevance:

A vertical mattress suture may offer enhanced strength of repair for transosseous-equivalent repairs.

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