Structural properties of a new fixation strategy in double bundle ACL reconstruction: the MiniShim

S Lenschow, B Schliemann, K Dressler, B Zampogna, S Vasta, M Raschke, T Zantop
Archives of Orthopaedic and Trauma Surgery 2011, 131 (8): 1159-65

INTRODUCTION: Double-bundle reconstruction of the ACL has become the focus of scientific and clinical interest in the last years. However, there is still a discussion about the most appropriate technique for graft fixation. Both, extracortical fixation systems like the Endobutton and aperture fixation by interference screws have advantages as well as disadvantages. Aim of this study was to analyze the biomechanical properties of a new small wedge shaped implant (MiniShim, Karl Storz, Germany) for the fixation of a soft tissue graft in double bundle ACL reconstruction and to compare it to an aperture fixation by interference screw and an extracortical fixation.

METHODS: Porcine knees and flexor tendons were used for this study. 5 and 6 mm tunnels were drilled. The following fixation strategies were tested: 4 and 5 mm MiniShim (Karl Storz Germany), 6 mm interference screw (MegaFix, Karl Storz, Germany), hybridfixation by FlippTack (FlippTack, Karl Storz, Germany) and MiniShim and hybridfixation by FlippTack and 6 mm interference screw. All fixation strategies were tested with a 5 and 6 mm tendon graft. Maximum load, yield load and stiffness were recorded using a material testing machine. Load was applied in line with the bone tunnel. Grafts were cyclically preconditioned between 0 and 20 N for 10 cycles before the graft-bone-complex was loaded to failure. Statistical evaluation was performed using SPSS Version 11.0.

RESULTS: Load to failure for the 5 mm graft was 81.1 and 118.0 N for the 4 and 5 mm MiniShims. Fixation by interference screw reached 237.4 N. The extracortical fixation resulted in a load to failure of 471.7 N. Load to failure for the 6 mm tendon grafts was 52.0 and 92.8 N for the 4 and 5 mm MiniShims. Fixation by interference screw resulted in a load to failure of 214.0 N. Extracortical fixation failed at 451.7 N. The difference between MiniShim and interference screw was statistically significant. Load to failure was significantly higher for extracortical fixation compared to fixation by MiniShim or interference screw. Hybrid fixation showed higher fixation strength compared to fixation by interference screw or MiniShim alone. This difference was statistically significant. Stiffness was significantly higher for fixation by interference screw compared to extracortical fixation and fixation by MiniShim. Four different modes of failure could be seen. All 4 mm MiniShims failed by slippage of the tendon past the MiniShim. In the 5 mm group the fixation failed by pullout of the MiniShim or the tendon past the MiniShim. Hybrid fixation failed by rupture of the linkage material. When the graft was fixed by an interference screw failure occurred by rupture of the tendon at the fixation side.

CONCLUSION: Hybrid fixation using the MiniShim provides biomechanical properties strong enough to withstand the forces occurring during rehabilitation and comparable to the fixation strength provided by interference screw. While fixation by MiniShim alone does not provide sufficient fixation strength in double bundle ACL reconstruction, hybridfixation using a cortical fixation by FlippTack is an alternative to aperture fixation by interference screw concerning primary stability.

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