Biomechanical testing of suture-based meniscal repair devices containing ultrahigh-molecular-weight polyethylene suture: update 2011

F Alan Barber, Morley A Herbert, Eric D Bava, Otis R Drew
Arthroscopy: the Journal of Arthroscopic & related Surgery 2012, 28 (6): 827-34

PURPOSE: To evaluate the biomechanical characteristics of recently introduced ultrahigh-molecular-weight polyethylene suture-based, self-adjusting meniscal repair devices.

METHODS: Updating a prior study published in 2009, we made vertical longitudinal cuts 3 mm from the periphery in fresh-frozen adult human menisci to simulate a bucket-handle meniscus tear. Each tear was then repaired by a single repair technique in 10 meniscus specimens. Group 1 menisci were repaired with a vertical mattress suture of No. 2-0 Ethibond (Ethicon, Somerville, NJ). Group 2 menisci were repaired with a vertical mattress suture of No. 2-0 OrthoCord (DePuy Mitek, Raynham, MA). Group 3 menisci were repaired with a single OmniSpan device with No. 2-0 OrthoCord suture (DePuy Mitek). Group 4 menisci were repaired with a single Meniscal Cinch device with No. 2-0 FiberWire suture (Arthrex, Naples, FL). Group 5 menisci were repaired with a single MaxFire device inserted with the MarXmen gun (Biomet Sports Medicine, Warsaw, IN). Group 6 menisci were repaired with a Sequent device with No. 0 Hi-Fi suture (ConMed Linvatec, Largo, FL) in a "V" suture configuration. Group 7 menisci were repaired with a single FasT-Fix 360 device (Smith & Nephew Endoscopy, Andover, MA). By use of a mechanical testing machine, all samples were preloaded at 5 N and cycled 200 times between 5 and 50 N. Those specimens that survived were destructively tested at 5 mm/min. Endpoints included maximum load, displacement, stiffness, and failure mode.

RESULTS: Mean failure loads were as follows: Ethibond suture, 73 N; OrthoCord suture, 88 N; OmniSpan, 88 N; Cinch, 71 N; MarXmen/MaxFire, 54 N; Sequent, 66 N; and FasT-Fix 360, 60 N. Ethibond was stronger than MarXmen/MaxFire. The mean displacement after 100 cycles was as follows: Ethibond, 2.58 mm; OrthoCord, 2.75 mm; OmniSpan, 2.51 mm; Cinch, 2.65 mm; MarXmen/MaxFire, 3.67 mm; Sequent, 3.35 mm; and FasT-Fix 360, 1.13 mm. The MarXmen/MaxFire showed greater 100-cycle displacement than Ethibond and FasT-Fix 360. No difference in stiffness existed for these devices, and failure mode varied without specific trends.

CONCLUSIONS: The biomechanical properties of meniscal repairs using the OmniSpan, Cinch, Sequent, and FasT-Fix 360 devices are equivalent to suture repair techniques. However, the MarXmen/MaxFire meniscal repair device showed significantly lower failure loads and survived less cyclic loading in the human cadaveric meniscus than other tested repairs.

CLINICAL RELEVANCE: Most commercially available devices for all-inside meniscal repair using ultrahigh-molecular-weight polyethylene suture provide fixation comparable to the classic vertical mattress suture repair technique in human cadaveric meniscus.

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