To determine the effect of epitendinous suture (ES) caliber on the tensile strength of flexor tendon repairs in cadaveric specimens from dogs.
60 cadaveric superficial digital flexor tendons (SDFTs) from 30 skeletally mature dogs.
Specimens were randomly assigned to 5 suture caliber groups (n = 12 SDFTs/group). After sharp transection, SDFTs were repaired by placement of a simple continuous circumferential ES created with size-0, 2-0, 3-0, 4-0, or 5-0 polypropylene suture. Constructs were preloaded to 2 N and load tested to failure. Loads at yield, peak, and failure and mode of failure were compared among groups by statistical methods.
Yield, peak, and failure loads for SDFT repair constructs were positively correlated with ES caliber and did not differ between the size-0 and 2-0 groups on pairwise comparisons. Yield load was significantly greater for size-0, 2-0, and 3-0 groups than for the 4-0 and 5-0 groups. Peak and failure loads were significantly greater for the size-0 and 2-0 groups than for the remaining groups. Most size-0 (12/12), 2-0 (12/12), and 3-0 (10/12) group constructs failed because of ES pull-through; several constructs in the 4-0 group (5/12) and most in the 5-0 group (11/12) failed because of ES breakage.
CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE
Results suggested size-0 and 2-0 sutures should be considered when placing an ES for flexor tendon repairs in dogs. However, in vivo studies are needed determine the effects of increasing ES caliber on clinical outcomes for dogs undergoing these procedures.