A Comparative Biomechanical Analysis of 2 Double-Row, Distal Triceps Tendon Repairs

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Background: Triceps tendon ruptures are rare orthopaedic injuries that almost always require surgical repair. This study tests the biomechanical properties of an original anchorless double-row triceps repair against a previously reported knotless double-row repair.

Hypothesis: The anchorless double-row triceps repair technique will yield similar biomechanical properties when compared with the knotless double-row repair technique.

Study design: Controlled laboratory study.

Methods: Eighteen cadaver arms were randomized into 2 groups. One group received the anchorless repair and the other received the knotless anchor repair. A materials testing system (MTS) machine was used to cycle the repaired arms from 0° to 90° with a 2.5-pound weight for 1500 cycles at 0.25 Hz. Real-time displacement of the tendon was measured during cycling using a probe. Load to failure was performed after completion of cyclic loading.

Results: The mean displacement with the anchorless technique was 0.77 mm (SD, 0.25 mm) at 0° (full elbow extension) and 0.76 mm (SD, 0.38 mm) at 90° (elbow flexion). The mean displacement with the anchored technique was 0.83 mm (SD, 0.57 mm) at 0° and 1.01 mm (SD, 0.62 mm) at 90°. There was no statistically significant difference for tendon displacement at 0º (P = .75) or 90º (P = .31). The mean load to failure with the anchorless technique was 618.9 N (SD, 185.6 N), while it was 560.5 N (SD, 154.1 N) with the anchored technique, again with no statistically significant difference (P = .28).

Conclusion: Our anchorless double-row triceps repair technique yields comparable biomechanical properties to previously described double-row triceps tendon repair techniques, with the added benefit of avoiding the cost of suture anchors.

Clinical relevance: This anchorless double-row triceps tendon repair can be considered as an acceptable alternative to a knotless anchor repair for triceps tendon ruptures.