Influence of sutures configuration on the strength of tendon-patch joints for rotator cuff tears treatment.


Dipartimento di Ingegneria - Università degli Studi di Palermo, Palermo, Italy. Electronic address: [Email]


OBJECTIVE : Massive rotator cuff tears are common in the aging population. The incidence of failed rotator cuff repairs is still quite high, especially in the treatment of full-thickness tears or revision repairs. In this context, natural and synthetic meshes can be used as augmentation scaffolds or as devices to close the gap between a retracted tendon and the bone. The purpose of this work is to evaluate the ultimate tensile strength of different tendon-patch joints in order to consider their use in the treatment of massive cuff tears.
METHODS : Porcine tendons and a synthetic low-density polypropylene mesh have been used. A preliminary study on the tensile strength of tendons and patches has been performed. Different patch-tendon joints have been studied by modifying the number and the layout of the sutures. For every joint, the tensile test, performed through an electromechanical machine, has been repeated at least twice to obtain reliable data.
RESULTS : Experimental tensile tests on tendons and patches have given good results with very low dispersion data. Mean values of the calculated ultimate tensile stresses are, respectively, about 34 MPa and 16 MPa for tendons and patches. As regards the sutures arrangement, the staggered layout gave, for all joints, a higher tensile strength than the regular (aligned) one. Different ultimate tensile stress values, depending on the sutures number and layout, have been calculated for the joints.
CONCLUSIONS : Synthetic patches could be an interesting option to repair massive cuff tears and to improve, in a significant way, pain, range of motion and strength at time 0, so reducing the rehabilitation time. Obtained results demonstrated that joints with a suitable number and layout of sutures could ensure very good mechanical performances. The failure load of the tendon-patch joint, in fact, is higher than the working load on a healthy tendon.


Experimental test,Reverse engineering,Rotator cuff tear,Synthetic patch,Tensile strength,