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Am J Sports Med. 2001 Jul-Aug;29(4):493-7.

The influence of tendon length and fit on the strength of a tendon-bone tunnel complex. A biomechanical and histologic study in the dog.

Author information

1
Department of Orthopedics, University of Utah Medical Center, Salt Lake City 84132, USA.

Abstract

Using a dog model, we examined the influence of tendon length and fit within a bone tunnel on the pull-out strength of a tendon-bone tunnel complex at 6 weeks after fixation. Fourteen adult mongrel dogs (weight, 25 to 30 kg) underwent bilateral hindlimb surgery in which the extensor digitorum longus tendon was transplanted into an extraarticular metaphyseal bone tunnel. Our findings demonstrated that pull-out strength at 6 weeks was enhanced by increasing the length of tendon within the tunnel. The average load to failure with 1 cm of tendon within the tunnel was 153.7 +/- 78.6 N, compared with 265.5 +/- 93.3 N for the specimens with 2 cm of tendon in the tunnel. Tendon fit within the tunnel was also found to be important. The average load to failure when a tendon was placed in a 4.2-mm diameter tunnel was 301 +/- 61 N at 6 weeks. The average load to failure when the tendon was placed within a 6-mm diameter tunnel was 228 +/- 65 N. These differences were statistically different. Histologically, the interface between the tendon and bone appeared to be most mature when there was intimate bone-to-tendon contact. These data suggest that maximizing tendon length within a bone tunnel and minimizing tendon-tunnel diameter mismatch will maximize the strength of a tendon-bone tunnel complex at 6 weeks.

PMID:
11476392
DOI:
10.1177/03635465010290041901
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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