Biomechanical properties of different techniques used in vitro for suturing mid-substance Achilles tendon ruptures

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Background:The Dresden technique preserves the paratenon during Achilles tendon repair and may improve the plantarflexor mechanism when combined with mobilization during early rehabilitation. However, the surgical repair design for Achilles tendon ruptures can affect rates of re-rupture or lengthening. Therefore, the aim of this study was to determine the biomechanical properties of the Krackow, Double-Kessler, Double-Dresden, and Triple-Dresden techniques used for repairing mid-substance Achilles tendon ruptures during cyclical and maximum traction.Methods:Sixty mid-substance bovine tendons repaired after transverse rupturing were divided randomly into four groups by repair technique: Krackow, Double-Kessler, Double-Dresden, and Triple-Dresden. Cyclical tractions of 4.7, 5.8, 7.9, and 11.7 mm (equivalent to 5°, 8°, 10°, and 15° of dorsal flexion, respectively) were applied to determine gapping, tensile strength, nominal suture stress, repair deformation, and specimens with clinical failure (gap > 5 mm). Maximal traction was applied to measure maximum strength and failure type (i.e. suture, knot, or tendon).Findings:The Triple-Dresden technique resulted in decreased gapping, nominal suture stress, repair deformation, and quantity of specimens with clinical failure as compared to the other techniques. Furthermore, Triple-Dresden tendons showed greater comparative tensile and maximum strength. During maximal traction testing, this technique presented tendon failure, whereas the Krackow, Double-Kessler, and Double-Dresden techniques had suture failures.Interpretation:Triple-Dresden repair results in better cyclical and maximum traction strengths, suggesting that this technique might be more appropriate when performing early mobilization after mid-substance Achilles tendon rupture repair.HighlightsTriple-Dresden technique prevents gap generation during cyclical traction of Achilles tendon.Triple-Dresden technique provides greater strength capacity after mid-substance rupture.Triple-Dresden technique tolerates clinical failure in Achilles tendon until 10° of dorsal flexion.Triple-Dresden might be more appropriate when performing early mobilization after mid-substance.

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