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J Hand Surg Am. 2001 Sep;26(5):813-20.

Zone II tendon repairs augmented with autogenous dorsal tendon graft: a biomechanical analysis.

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Yale Hand and Upper Extremity Center, Department of Orthopaedics and Rehabilitation, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT, USA.


We investigated the biomechanical properties of a new technique for tendon repair that reinforces a standard suture with an autogenous tendon graft. A dynamic in situ testing apparatus was used to test 40 flexor digitorum profundus tendons harvested from fresh-frozen cadaver hands. The tendons were cut and repaired using 1 of 4 suture techniques: 2-strand modified Kessler, 4-strand modified Kessler, 6-strand modified Savage, and 2-strand modified Kessler augmented with autogenous dorsal tendon graft. The augmented repair uses 1 slip of the flexor digitorum superficialis tendon secured to the dorsal surface of the repair site with a continuous stitch. Ultimate tensile strength, resistance to gap formation, and work of flexion were measured simultaneously on an in situ tensile testing apparatus. No significant difference in tensile strength was found between the augmented repair and the 6-strand Savage repair. The augmented repair and the 6-strand Savage repair showed significantly greater ultimate tensile strength than the 2- and 4-strand repairs. The augmented repair had significantly greater resistance to 2 mm gap formation than the other 3 repairs. We were unable to show a significant difference in work of flexion between the repairs with the numbers tested (n = 10). Our findings suggest that the augmented repair is strong enough to tolerate the projected forces generated during active motion without dehiscence or gap formation at the repair site.

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