Background: Tripling semitendinosus tendon for ACL graft preparation facilitates creation of longer and thicker grafts. Our objective was to evaluate the mechanical difference between tripled tendon grafts, prepared by three methods, by comparing with quadrupled tendon graft.
Methods: Bovine hind-foot hoof extensors were allocated to four groups. Group I had quadrupled graft construct. Tripled graft constructs were prepared by passing the tendon to the Endobutton CL loop and stitching the third strand to (i) the loop (in Group II) or (ii) to one strand(in Group III) or (iii)to loop and both tendon strands (in Group IV). The constructs were preloaded from 10 to 50 N at 0.1 Hz for 10 cycles, followed by 1000 cycles of sinusoidal loading between 50 and 250 N at a frequency of 0.5 Hz. The specimens were then subjected to load to failure test at the rate of 50 mm/min. Displacement with cyclic loading, load at failure and the mode of failure were noted.
Results: The load at failure was 957 ± 23.30 N (Mean ± Standard Deviation) in Group I, 590.8 ± 24.40 N in Group II, 682.6 ± 59.28 N in Group III and 963.4 ± 21.72 N in Group IV. The displacement with cyclic loading was 1.13 ± 0.11 mm in Group I, 4.908 ± 0.55 mm in Group II, 1.822 ± 0.55 mm in Group III and 1. 126 ± .018 mm in Group IV. There was no significant difference between the Groups I and IV with respect to the load at failure and displacement (p > 0.05). The values were significantly different in Group II and Group III (p < 0.01), when compared to groups I and IV.
Conclusions: Tripled grafts have mechanical properties equivalent to quadrupled grafts only when the three strands are sutured together. Caution may be warranted when using suspensory fixation device with tripled tendons and the third strand must be securely attached to the loop of fixation device and to the other two strands.
Keywords: Cruciate ligament reconstruction; Mechanical assessment; Suspensory fixation; Tripled hamstring tendon.
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