Analysis of a Knotless Flexor Tendon Repair Using a Multifilament Stainless Steel Cable-Crimp System
OPEN The Journal of hand surgery | 5 Mar 2013
L Gordon, J Matsui, E McDonald, JA Gordon and R Neimkin
PURPOSE: To compare the biomechanical and technical properties of flexor tendon repairs using a 4-strand cruciate FiberWire (FW) repair and a 2-strand multifilament stainless steel (MFSS) single cross-lock cable-crimp system. METHODS: Eight tests were conducted for each type of repair using cadaver hand flexor digitorum profundus tendons. We measured the required surgical exposure, repair time, and force of flexion (friction) with a custom motor system with an inline load cell and measured ultimate tensile strength (UTS) and 2-mm gap force on a servo-hydraulic testing machine. RESULTS: Repair time averaged less than 7 minutes for the 2-strand MFSS cable crimp repairs and 12 minutes for the FW repairs. The FW repair was performed with 2 cm of exposure and removal of the C-1 and A-3 pulleys. The C-1 and A-3 pulleys were retained in each of the MFSS cable crimp repairs with less than 1 cm of exposure. Following the FW repair, the average increase in friction was 89% compared with an average of 53% for the MFSS repairs. Six of the 8 MFSS specimens achieved the UTS before any gap had occurred, whereas all of the FW repairs had more than 2 mm of gap before the UTS, indicating that the MFSS was a stiffer repair. The average UTS appeared similar for both groups. CONCLUSIONS: We describe a 2-strand multifilament stainless steel single cross-lock cable crimp flexor repair system. In our studies of this cable crimp system, we found that surgical exposure, average repair times, and friction were reduced compared to the traditional 4-strand cruciate FW repair. While demonstrating these benefits, the crimp repair also produced a stiff construct and high UTS and 2-mm gap force. CLINICAL RELEVANCE: A cable crimp flexor tendon repair may offer an attractive alternative to current repair methods. The benefits may be important especially for flexor tendon repair in zone 2 or for the repair of multiple tendons.
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