Biomechanical Evaluation of Flexor Tendon Repair Techniques


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Abstract

Immediate active mobilization of repaired tendons is thought to be the most effective way to restore function of injured flexor tendons. Sixty human flexor digitorum profundus tendons were used to evaluate techniques for active tendon motion. The tendons were divided equally into six groups, and each group was assigned to one of the following techniques: Kessler core suture plus running peripheral suture, Kessler plus cross-stitch suture, Kessler plus Halsted suture, Tang core suture plus running peripheral suture, Tang plus cross-stitch suture, or Tang plus Halsted suture. Immediately after tendon repair, an Instron tensile testing machine was used to measure the 2-mm gap formation force, ultimate strength, elastic modulus, and energy to failure of the tendons repaired by these techniques. Ultimate strength, elastic modulus, and energy to failure were measured in load displacement curve. Results showed that the ultimate strength of the Tang plus Halsted or cross-stitch was, respectively, 116.8 ± 9.6 N and 94.6 ± 7.8 N; and 2-mm gap formation force was, respectively, 86.6 ± 4.9 N and 71.9 ± 5.1 N. The Tang plus Halsted or cross-stitch methods had a statistically significant increase in ultimate strength and 2-mm gap formation force as compared with the Kessler core suture or Tang plus running peripheral suture method. Elastic modulus and energy to failure of the Tang plus Halsted or cross-stitch suture were statistically higher than those of other techniques. The Tang plus cross-stitch or Tang plus Halsted sutures had the highest strength among the tested methods and are appropriate techniques for tendon repair in which the goal is immediate active tendon motion.

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