In vitro biomechanical analysis of suture methods for flexor tendon repair

Masahiko Noguchi, John G. Seiler, Richard H. Gelberman, Richard A. Sofranko, Savio L‐Y Woo

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Abstract

This study was designed to compare five different suture methods that are used clinically for tendon repair. The flexor digitorum profundus tendons from the digits of adult mongrel dogs and adult human cadavers were used as models. The tendons in zone II of the hand, defined as the region from the distal palmar crease to the insertion of the flexor digitorum superficialis tendon at the middle phalanx, were transected and then were repaired by one of the suture methods developed by Kessler, Tsuge, Tajima, Savage, or Lee. The gliding function and tensile properties of the repaired tendons were evaluated biomechanically at time zero. The Tajima and Savage methods produced better gliding function than the other techniques. In the canine specimens that had been repaired by one of these two methods, the rotation of the distal interphalangeal joint was more than 60% of the rotation of the canine control specimens; only the Savage technique produced a rotation 124% that of the human control specimens. After the Tajima repair, the rotation of the proximal interphalangeal joint was 113% that of the canine control specimens and 157% that of the human controls. In the canine specimens that had had the Tajima or Savage repair, excursion of the tendon was greater than 55% that of the controls. The tendons repaired by the Savage method tolerated a significantly higher ultimate load to failure (14 and 25% that of the canine and human control specimens, respectively) than the other methods. Of the suture methods that were tested, the Savage technique provides sufficiently satisfactory gliding function and has enough initial stiffness and strength that it may be able to withstand early active mobilization following primary repair of flexor tendons.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)603-611
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Orthopaedic Research
Volume11
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 1993

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