Purpose: Recently, tape augmentation for Broström repair has been introduced in order to improve the primary stability of the reconstructed anterior talofibular ligament (ATFL). The biomechanical effect of tape augmentation suture anchor (SA) repair is not known yet. The aim of the present study was to compare construct stability of the traditional Broström (TB) repair compared with a stand alone SA repair (SutureTak, Arthrex) and SA repair combined with tape augmentation (InternalBrace, Arthrex) internal brace (IB) of the ATFL.
Methods: Eighteen fresh-frozen human anatomic lower leg specimens were randomly assigned to three different groups: TB group, SA group, and IB augmentation group. In vivo torsion conditions in ankle sprain were carried out quasi-statically (0.5°/s). Torque (Nm) required to resist as well as the rotary displacement (°) of the load frame was recorded. Intergroup differences for age, bone mineral density (BMD), angle at failure, and torque at failure were analysed using ANOVA.
Results: In the TB group, ATFL reconstruction failed at an angle of 24.1°, in the SA group failure occurred at 35.5°, and in the IB group it failed at 46.9° (p = 0.02). Torque at failure reached 5.7 Nm for the TB repair, 8.0 Nm for the SA repair, and 11.2 Nm for the IB group (p = 0.04). There was no correlation between angle at ATFL failure, torque at failure, and BMD for the SA or IB groups.
Conclusion: The present biomechanical study reveals statistically superior performance in terms of angle at failure as well as failure torque for the IB group compared to the other reconstruction methods. BMD did not influence the construct stability in the SA repair groups.
Keywords: Ankle lateral ligament; Bone mineral density; Broström; Suture anchor; Tape augmentation.