Biomechanical comparison of bioabsorbable sutureless screw anchor versus suture anchor fixation for rotator cuff repair

Steve Lee, Andrew Mahar, Kelly Bynum, Robert Pedowitz
Arthroscopy 2005, 21 (1): 43-7

PURPOSE: Anchors that directly fix the rotator cuff to bone without using sutures may simplify the challenges associated with arthroscopic rotator cuff repair. This study compared a bioabsorbable screw fixation device to a standard suture anchor fixation method.

TYPE OF STUDY: Randomized trial.

METHODS: A poly-L-lactide acid (PLLA), bioabsorbable screw anchor was compared with a metallic suture anchor loaded with No. 2 braided polyester suture in 12-week-old fresh-frozen bovine shoulders. Twelve specimens were randomly assigned to the 2 repair groups (6 per group). A 1 x 2-cm defect was created at the insertion site of the infraspinatus tendon. Two anchors were implanted 1 cm apart in the anatomic insertional area of the infraspinatus tendon. After preconditioning to 10 N, each construct was cycled between 10 and 180 N for up to a maximum of 2,500 cycles at a rate of 33 mm/second using a materials testing machine. The number of cycles to 5- and 10-mm gap formation at the repair site and mode of failure were recorded. Clinically, 10-mm gap formation defines complete fixation failure. Data were evaluated using an analysis of variance with significance set at P < .05.

RESULTS: Mattress suture fixation had significantly higher number of cycles to 10-mm failure compared with the PLLA device (P = .015). Failure occurred by tissue pullout in half the specimens and by device failure in the other half, without differences in failure modalities between groups.

CONCLUSIONS: This anchor provides low-profile fixation of the rotator cuff and eliminates suture placement and knot tying during arthroscopic and mini-open cuff repair. However, these data suggest that this anchor may not perform adequately under cyclic loading conditions in patients during postoperative rehabilitation.

CLINICAL RELEVANCE: This bioabsorbable anchor may not provide sufficient fixation for rotator cuff repair in humans.


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