Operative Management of Acute Triceps Tendon Ruptures: Review of 184 Cases

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Abstract

Background:

Distal triceps tendon ruptures are rare. The authors present a series of 184 surgically treated, acute, traumatic triceps tendon avulsions and compare the complications between those treated with anchors (A) versus transosseous (TO) suture repair.

Hypothesis:

No difference exists in the retear rate between TO and A repairs.

Study Designed:

Cohort study; Level of evidence, 3.

Methods:

All patients who underwent an open primary repair of a traumatic triceps tendon avulsion within 90 days of injury, between 2007 and 2015, were retrospectively reviewed. Surgeries were performed within a multisurgeon (75 surgeons), multicenter (14 centers), community-based integrated health care system. Patient demographic information, type of repair, complications, and time from surgery to release from medical care were recorded.

Results:

184 triceps tears in 181 patients met the inclusion criteria. The mean age was 49 years (range, 15-83 years). There were 169 males. The most common mechanisms of injury were fall (56.5%) and weight lifting (19%). Mean time from injury to surgery was 19 days (range, 1-90 days); in 74.5% of cases, surgery was performed in 3 weeks or less. There were 105 TO and 73 A repairs. No significant difference was found between the two groups in the mean age (P = .18), sex (P = .51), completeness of tears (P = .74), tourniquet time (P = .455), and prevalence of smokers (P = .64). Significant differences were noted between TO and A repairs in terms of reruptures (6.7% vs 0%, respectively; P = .0244), overall reoperation rate (9.5% vs 1.4%; P = .026), and release from medical care (4.3 vs 3.4 months; P = .0014), but no difference was seen in infection rate (3.8% vs 0%; P = .092). No difference was noted in release from medical care in patients who underwent surgery 3 weeks or less after injury compared with those undergoing surgery more than 3 weeks after injury (3.90 vs 4.09 months, respectively; P = .911).

Conclusion:

Primary repair of triceps ruptures with TO fixation has a significantly higher rerupture rate, higher reoperation rate, and longer release from medical care than does repair with A fixation. Implementation of suture anchors in triceps repairs offers a lower complication rate and earlier release from medical care.

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