Objective—To compare effects of the locking-loop
suture pattern (LLP) and 3-loop pulley (3LP) suture
pattern for tenorrhaphy on the intrinsic vasculature of
the superficial digital flexor tendon (SDFT) of horses
in vitro after surgery.
Sample Population—16 forelimbs obtained from 8
Procedure—Tenotomy and subsequent tenorrhaphy
was performed in anesthetized horses. Following systemic
administration of heparin, horses were euthanatized
and the limbs were removed and placed
under tension to load the flexor tendons. The intrinsic
vasculature was then perfused with a mixture of barium
sulfate and water. Four-millimeter sections of the
SDFT were prepared for microangiographic analysis.
Mean vessel density was calculated for each section
by use of a grid consisting of 1.5-mm2 vascular
assessment squares (VAS). Comparisons were made
among the control, LLP, and 3LP groups.
Results—Mean ± SD vessel density was 3.11 ± 0.38,
1.47 ± 0.47, and 2.01 ± 0.63 perfused vessels/1.5 mm2
for control, LLP, and 3LP groups, respectively.
Significant differences in vascular density were
detected between the control and 3LP groups, control
and LLP groups, and LLP and 3LP groups.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Use of the
LLP and 3LP pattern has deleterious effects in vitro on
the intrinsic vasculature of the SDFT. However, the
3LP pattern was less disruptive to the intrinsic vasculature,
compared with the effects for the LLP. Use of
the 3LP tenorrhaphy suture pattern in clinical situations
may result in less damage to the intrinsic vasculature
of the SDFT of horses during convalescence.
( Am J Vet Res 2004;65:279–282)