Cell biological and biomechanical evaluation of two different fixation techniques for rotator cuff repair

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Our objective was to evaluate the cell biology and biomechanical aspects of the healing process after two different techniques in open rotator cuff surgery - double-loaded bio-absorbable suture anchors combined with so-called arthroscopic Mason-Allen stitches (AAMA) and a trans-osseous suture technique combined with traditional modified Mason-Allen stitches (SMMA). Thirty-six mature sheep were randomized into two repair groups. After 6, 12, or 26 weeks, evaluation of the reinsertion site of the infraspinatus tendon was performed. The mechanical load-to-failure and stiffness results did not indicate a significant difference between the two groups. After 26 weeks, fibrocartilage was sparse in the AAMA group, whereas the SMMA group showed the most pronounced amount of fibrocartilage. We found no ultrastructural differences in collagen fiber organization between the two groups. The relative expression of collagen type II mRNA in the normal group was 1.11. For the AAMA group, 6 weeks after surgery, the relative expression was 55.47, whereas for the SMMA group it was 1.90. Thisin vivostudy showed that the AAMA group exhibited a tendon-to-bone healing process more favorable in its cell biology than that of the traditional SMMA technique. Therefore, the AAMA technique might also be more appropriate for arthroscopic repair.

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