Augmented Versus Nonaugmented Repair of Acute Achilles Tendon Rupture: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis

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Abstract

Background:

Although simple end-to-end repair of the Achilles tendon is common, many augmented repair protocols have been implemented for acute Achilles tendon rupture. However, whether augmented repair is better than nonaugmented repair of an acute Achilles tendon rupture is still unknown.

Purpose:

To conduct a meta-analysis to determine whether augmented surgical repair of an acute Achilles tendon rupture improved subjective patient satisfaction without an increase in rerupture rates. Secondary outcomes assessed included infections, ankle range of motion, calf muscle strength, and minor complications.

Study Design:

Meta-analysis.

Methods:

A systematic literature search of peer-reviewed articles was conducted to identify all randomized controlled trials (RCTs) comparing augmented repair and nonaugmented repair for acute Achilles tendon rupture from January 1980 to August 2016 in the electronic databases of PubMed, Web of Science (SCI-E/SSCI/A&HCI), and EMBASE. The keywords (Achilles tendon rupture) AND (surg* OR operat* OR repair* OR augment* OR non-augment* OR end-to-end OR sutur*) were combined, and results were limited to human RCTs and controlled clinical trials published in the English language. Four RCTs involving 169 participants were eligible for inclusion; 83 participants were treated with augmented repair and 86 were treated with nonaugmented repair.

Results:

Augmented repair led to similar responses when compared with nonaugmented repair for acute Achilles tendon rupture (93% vs 90%, respectively; P = .53). The rerupture rates showed no significant difference for augmented versus nonaugmented repair (7.2% vs 9.3%, respectively; P = .69). No differences in superficial and deep infections occurred in augmented (7 infections) and nonaugmented (8 infections) repair groups during postoperative follow-up (P = .89). The average incisional infection rate was 8.4% with augmented repair and 9.3% with nonaugmented repair. No significant differences in other complications were found between augmented (7.2%) and nonaugmented (8.1%) repair (P = .80).

Conclusion:

Augmented repair, when compared with nonaugmented repair, was not found to improve patient satisfaction or reduce rerupture rate or infection rate. These conclusions are based on 4 trials with small sample sizes, and larger randomized trials are required to confirm these results.

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