A photoactivated nanofiber graft material for augmented Achilles tendon repair

Tao Ni, Prabhu Senthil-Kumar, Karen Dubbin, Salvador D. Aznar-Cervantes, Néha Datta, Mark A. Randolph, José L. Cenis, Gregory C. Rutledge, Irene E. Kochevar, Robert W. Redmond

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


Background and Objective Suture repair of Achilles tendon rupture can cause infection, inflammation and scarring, while prolonged immobilization promotes adhesions to surrounding tissues and joint stiffness. Early mobilization can reduce complications provided the repair is strong enough to resist re-rupture. We have developed a biocompatible, photoactivated tendon wrap from electrospun silk (ES) to provide additional strength to the repair that could permit early mobilization, and act as a barrier to adhesion formation. Study Design/Material and Methods ES nanofiber mats were prepared by electrospinning. New Zealand white rabbits underwent surgical transection of the Achilles tendon and repair by: (a) SR: standard Kessler suture + epitendinous suture (5-0 vicryl). (b) ES/PTB: a single stay suture and a section of ES mat, stained with 0.1% Rose Bengal (RB), wrapped around the tendon and bonded with 532 nm light (0.3 W/cm2, 125 J/cm2). (c) SR + ES/PTB: a combination of (a) and (b). Gross appearance, extent of adhesion formation and biomechanical properties of the repaired tendon were evaluated at Days 7, 14, or 28 post-operatively (n = 8 per group at each time point). Results Ultimate stress (US) and Young's modulus (E) in the SR group were not significantly different from the ES/PTB group at Days 7 (US, P = 0.85; E, P = 1), 14 (US, P = 0.054; E, P = 1), and 28 (US, P = 0.198; E, P = 0.12) post-operatively. Adhesions were considerably greater in the SR group compared to the ES/PTB group at Days 7 (P = 0.002), 14 (P < 0.0001), and 28 (P < 0.0001). The combination approach of SR + ES/PTB gave the best outcomes in terms of E at 7 (P < 0.016) and 14 days (P < 0.016) and reduced adhesions compared to SR at 7 (P < 0.0001) and 14 days (P < 0.0001), the latter suggesting a barrier function for the photobonded ES wrap. Conclusion Photochemical sealing of a ES mat around the tendon repair site provides considerable benefit in Achilles tendon repair.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)645-652
Number of pages8
JournalLasers in Surgery and Medicine
Issue number8
StatePublished - Oct 2012


  • Rose Bengal
  • adhesion barrier
  • electrospinning
  • photochemical tissue bonding
  • silk
  • tissue repair


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