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JOURNAL ARTICLE

A biomechanical analysis of point of failure during lateral-row tensioning in transosseous-equivalent rotator cuff repair

Brian D Dierckman, Jordan L Goldstein, Kyle E Hammond, Spero G Karas
Arthroscopy 2012, 28 (1): 52-8
22019232

PURPOSE: The purpose of this study was to determine the maximum load and point of failure of the construct during tensioning of the lateral row of a transosseous-equivalent (TOE) rotator cuff repair.

METHODS: In 6 fresh-frozen human shoulders, a TOE rotator cuff repair was performed, with 1 suture from each medial anchor passed through the tendon and tied in a horizontal mattress pattern. One of 2 limbs from each of 2 medial anchors was pulled laterally over the tendon. After preparation of the lateral bone for anchor placement, the 2 limbs were passed through the polyether ether ketone (PEEK) eyelet of a knotless anchor and tied to a tensiometer. The lateral anchor was placed into the prepared bone tunnel but not fully seated. Tensioning of the lateral-row repair was simulated by pulling the tensiometer to tighten the suture limbs as they passed through the eyelet of the knotless anchor. The mode of failure and maximum tension were recorded. The procedure was then repeated for the second lateral-row anchor.

RESULTS: The mean load to failure during lateral-row placement in the TOE model was 80.8 ± 21.0 N (median, 83 N; range, 27.2 to 115.8 N). There was no statistically significant difference between load to failure during lateral-row tensioning for the anterior and posterior anchors (P = .84). Each of the 12 constructs failed at the eyelet of the lateral anchor. Retrieval analysis showed no failure of the medial anchors, no medial suture cutout through the rotator cuff tendon, and no signs of gapping at the repair site.

CONCLUSIONS: Our results suggest that the medial-row repair does not appear vulnerable during tensioning of the lateral row of a TOE rotator cuff repair with the implants tested. However, surgeons should exercise caution when tensioning the lateral row, especially when lateral-row anchors with PEEK eyelets are implemented.

CLINICAL RELEVANCE: For this repair construct, the findings suggest that although the medial row is not vulnerable during lateral-row tensioning of a TOE rotator cuff repair, lateral-row anchors with PEEK eyelets appear vulnerable to early failure.

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