To evaluate the effects of using an internal fixation plate to augment primary 3-loop pulley (3LP) repair of canine gastrocnemius tendons (GTs).
48 cadaveric GTs from 24 adult dogs.
GTs were dissected free from other tissues, transected, and randomly assigned to 4 groups (n = 12/group). GTs were repaired with 2-0 polypropylene with a 3LP repair alone or a 3LP repair augmented with a 3-hole veterinary cuttable plate (3VCP), a 5-hole veterinary cuttable plate (5VCP), or a 7-hole veterinary cuttable plate (7VC P). Biomechanical loads, construct stiffness, gap formation, and failure modes were compared between groups.
Yield, peak, and failure loads were all significantly increased for the 5VCP and 7VCP groups, compared with the 3LP alone group. Increasing plate length from 3VCP to 5VCP and from 3VCP to 7VCP increased yield, peak, and failure loads. No differences were found between the 3LP and 3VCP groups with regard to yield and peak loads, but failure load was increased in the 3VCP group. Loads to create 1-mm and 3-mm gaps were significantly greater for the 5VCP and 7VCP groups, compared with the 3LP alone and 3VCP groups. Mode of plate attachment failure differed among groups.
Tendon plate augmentation may be a viable surgical option to increase the strength of the tenorrhaphy in dogs. However, in vivo studies evaluating the effects of plate augmentation on the tendon blood supply and progression of healing are needed prior to clinical application.