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Biomechanical Comparison of 3 Adjustable-Loop Suspensory Devices for All-Inside ACL Reconstruction: A Time-Zero Full-Construct Model.

BACKGROUND: Little is known about the stability of adjustable-loop devices (ALDs) for anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstruction (ACLR).

PURPOSE: To evaluate the stabilization behavior of 3 different types of ALDs for all-inside ACLR in a full-construct surgical technique-based manner.

STUDY DESIGN: Controlled laboratory study.

METHODS: The femoral and tibial devices of Ultrabutton (Smith & Nephew), Infinity (Conmed), and TightRope II (Arthrex) were applied to quadrupled bovine tendon grafts (n = 8 each) with tibial-sided traction applied (350 N) for graft tensioning in a simulated fully extended knee. Knotless femoral graft fixation was based on either a suture-locking device (SLD; Ultrabutton), button-locking device (BLD; Infinity), or dual-locking device (DLD; TightRope II). All constructs were progressively loaded (50 N/500 cycles) from 50 to 300 N for 3000 cycles (0.75 Hz), including complete unloading situations and pull to failure (50 mm/min). Construct elongation, stiffness, and ultimate load were analyzed.

RESULTS: BLD showed significantly greater initial elongation (-2.69 ± 0.15 mm) than DLD (-3.19 ± 0.21 mm; P  < .001) but behaved similarly to SLD (-2.93 ± 0.23 mm). While DLD and SLD had the smallest initial elongation at the same significance level, they behaved opposite to each other with gradually increasing peak loading. At the end of testing, DLD had the lowest (-0.64 ± 0.32 mm) and SLD the highest (3.41 ± 1.01 mm) total elongation ( P  < .003 for both). SLD displayed significantly higher dynamic elongation (6.34 ± 0.23 mm) than BLD (3.21 ± 0.61 mm) and DLD (2.56 ± 0.31 mm) ( P  < .001 for both). The failure load of BLD (865.0 ± 183.8 N) was significantly lower ( P  < .026) compared with SLD and DLD (>1000 N). The predominant failure mode was suture rupture and tibial bone breakage with button subsidence (SLD, n = 4). No significant difference in stiffness between constructs was found.

CONCLUSION: While DLD successfully restricted critical construct elongation, BLD partially and SLD completely exceeded the clinical failure threshold (>3 mm) of plastic elongation with loop lengthening during increasing cyclic peak loading with complete unloading. Higher failure loads of SLD and DLD implants (>1000 N) were achieved at similar construct stiffness to BLD.

CLINICAL RELEVANCE: A detailed biomechanical understanding of the stabilization potential is pertinent to the continued evolution of ALDs to improve clinical outcomes.

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