Purpose: To evaluate the effects of suture anchor design and orientation on suture abrasion in a cyclic model.
Type of study: In vitro.
Methods: Biomechanical studies have shown suture breakage to be a predominant mode of failure in a suture anchor repair construct. It is possible that suture abrasion during knot tying or in vivo cyclic loading may contribute to early failure. This study specifically investigates suture abrasion caused by 17 commonly used suture anchors and demonstrates the effects of suture anchor angulation and rotation on suture abrasion. To eliminate target tissue as a source of failure, all anchors were implanted into a solid block of sawbones material and tested with No. 2 Ethibond Excel sutures (Ethicon, Somerville, NJ). The testing model focused on 3 variables: suture anchor type, suture pull angle (SA) and angle of anchor rotation (RA). Abrasion testing was then performed on a servohydraulic materials testing system by continually cycling the suture back and forth through each anchor with an excursion of 4 cm at a rate of 0.5 Hz under a load of 10 N until suture failure occurred.
Results: Sutures performed significantly better when cycled in line with the anchor at 0 degrees SA with 0 degrees RA than they did at 45 degrees SA with 0 degrees RA or 45 degrees SA with 90 degrees RA. We found no significant difference between anchors tested at 45 degrees SA with 0 degrees RA and 45 degrees SA with 90 degrees RA. For tests performed using metallic suture anchors, all constructs failed by fraying of the suture. Constructs using biopolymer anchors and nonabsorbable polymeric anchors experienced a mixture of suture and anchor eyelet failures.
Conclusions: In addition to the statistically significant detrimental effects of suture anchor angulation and rotation on suture abrasion, suture anchor eyelet design may also influence suture abrasion. Surgeons should be aware of the effects of anchor angulation, suture position in the eyelet, and design and composition of the eyelet to maximize the durability of the construct.