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J Biomed Mater Res B Appl Biomater. 2009 Jul;90(1):259-66. doi: 10.1002/jbm.b.31280.

Fiber technology for reliable repair of skeletal muscle.

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Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, Ohio, USA.


Conventional soft-tissue reclosure methods-sutures and staples-require substantial organized-collagen content. Some tissues lack extensive intrinsic collagenous content. Wound disruption consequences range from newly closed abdominal wounds bursting open, to post-cesarean wombs splitting at delivery, to heart valves loosening. Although sutures do approach the theoretical limit of normal force transfer-cross-sectional area times compressive strength, a different paradigm-shear force transfer across the far greater surface attainable by fine fibers parallel to the potential disruptive force could exceed that theoretical limit. Capacity is now the product of frictional coefficient, existing tissue pressure, and contact area. Using a device comprising bundles of poly(ethylene terephthalate) fibers through tissue, we previously coupled muscles to devices and bones. Here we tested an analogous device for reclosing fascia-stripped abdominal wall muscles. In 28 rabbits, fascia-deprived rectus abdominus muscles were reclosed, using the experimental device or conventional sutures. Testing muscles from the 21 three-week survivors, (with closure devices retained-the usual clinical practice) demonstrated experimental failure strength which exceeded that of controls by 58%. Histologically, solid tissue elements did in-grow between fibers for an extensive tissue-prosthetic interface. Both histology and mechanical performance suggest the fiber technology presented herein surpasses conventional sutures in closure of collagen-deficient tissues.

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