Biomechanical evaluation of three adjunctive methods of orthopedic tension band-wire fixation to augment simulated patella tendon repairs in dogs

Rachel M McKay, Daniel J Duffy, Yi-Jen Chang , Weston Beamon, George E Moore
Vet Surg. 2023 Aug 3. doi: 10.1111/vsu.14000.

Objective: To evaluate the effects of three adjunctive methods of tension band wire fixation (TBWF) on the biomechanical properties, gap formation, and failure mode in simulated canine patella tendon rupture (RPT).

Study design: Randomized, ex vivo.

Sample population: Paired hindlimbs from 32 dog cadavers.

Methods: Patellar tendons (PTs) and associated bone-muscle-tendon units were harvested. Each PT was transected then sutured using a core locking loop and simple continuous epitendinous pattern. Each hindlimb was randomly assigned to one of three groups (n = 18 hindlimbs/group) using 18 gauge 316 L wire, anchored to the tibial crest distally, to perform transpatellar, suprapatellar, or combined tension band-wire (TBW) augmentation. Ten hindlimbs were utilized as control specimens. Yield, peak, and failure loads, stiffness, loads to 1 and 3 mm gap formation, and failure mode were evaluated.

Results: Combined transpatellar and suprapatellar TBW augmentation was superior to transpatellar or suprapatellar groups alone. Yield (p = .0008), peak (p = .004), and failure loads (p = .005) were greater for the combined group than for the transpatellar (p = .048) and suprapatellar groups (p = .01) respectively. There was no difference regarding the occurrence of 1 or 3 mm gap formation (1 mm, p = .05; 3 mm, p = .06); however, loads required to cause gap formation were greater in the combined group (p = .036). Mode of failure differed between techniques used for PT augmentation (p < .001).

Conclusion: Combined transpatellar and suprapatellar adjunctive TBW augmentation for simulated PT repairs was biomechanically superior to either transpatellar or suprapatellar TBWF alone.

Clinical significance: Combined suprapatellar and transpatellar TBWF may offer a viable surgical option for increased repair-site strength and greater loads to gap formation. Further studies investigating alternative techniques and materials for RPT repair augmentation are warranted.