Does Greater Trochanter Decortication Affect Suture Anchor Pullout Strength in Abductor Tendon Repairs? A Biomechanical Study

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Abstract

Background:

Greater trochanter decortication is frequently performed at the time of abductor tendon repair to theoretically increase healing potential. No previous studies have determined the effect that greater trochanter decortication has on the pullout strength of suture anchors.

Hypothesis/Purpose:

The purpose of this study is to determine whether greater trochanter decortication and bone mineral density affect suture anchor pullout strength in abductor tendon repair. The authors hypothesize that both will have a significant detrimental effect on suture anchor pullout strength.

Study Design:

Controlled laboratory study.

Methods:

Nineteen cadaveric proximal femurs with accompanying demographic data and computed tomography scans were skeletonized to expose the greater trochanter. Bone density measurements were acquired by converting Hounsfield units to T-score, based on a standardized volumetric sample in the intertrochanteric region of the femur. The gluteus medius insertion site on the lateral facet of the greater trochanter was evenly divided into 2 regions, anterior-distal and posterior-proximal, and each region was randomly assigned to receive either no decortication or 2 mm of bone decortication. A single biocomposite anchor was implanted in each region and initially tested with cyclic loading for 10 cycles at 0-50 N, 0-100 N, 0-150 N, and 0-200 N, followed by load to failure (LTF) tested at 1 mm/s. For each trial, the number of cycles endured, LTF, mechanism of failure, and stiffness were recorded.

Results:

Greater trochanters with no decortication and 2 mm of decortication survived a mean ± SD 35.1 ± 6.4 and 28.5 ± 10.6 cycles, respectively (P < .01). Load to failure for nondecorticated specimens was 206.7 ± 75.0 N versus 152.3 ± 60.2 N for decorticated specimens (P < .001). In a multivariate analysis, decortication and bone density were determinants in LTF (P < .05).

Conclusion:

Decortication and decreased bone mineral density significantly decreased the pullout strength of suture anchors in the lateral facet of the greater trochanter.

Clinical Relevance:

Bone density should be considered when determining whether to perform greater trochanter decortication in abductor tendon repairs.

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