University of Oulu

Outcome of total Achilles tendon rupture repair, with special reference to suture materials and postoperative treatment

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Author: Kangas, Jarmo1
Organizations: 1University of Oulu, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Surgery, Division of Orthopaedic and Trauma Surgery
Format: ebook
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.8 MB)
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Language: English
Published: 2007
Publish Date: 2007-04-24
Thesis type: Doctoral Dissertation
Defence Note: Academic dissertation to be presented, with the assent of the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Oulu, for public defence in Auditorium 1 of Oulu University Hospital, on May 4th, 2007, at 12 noon
Reviewer: Professor Markku Järvinen
Docent Hannu Miettinen


The purposes of the present research were to compare the outcome after Achilles tendon rupture repair in two postoperative regimens, to compare Achilles tendon elongation in two postoperative treatment methods, to compare the effects of two postoperative methods on motor performance aspects such as simple reaction time, choice reaction time, speed of movement, foot tapping speed and coordination, to test the mechanical properties of the recently developed poly-L/D-lactide (PLDLA) sutures and Maxon® sutures when implanted in the Achilles tendons of rabbits, and to study the histological tissue reactions and biodegradation of these sutures under the same conditions.

Isokinetic calf muscle strength scores at the last control check-up were excellent in 56% of the patients in the early motion group, good in 32%, fair in 8%, and poor in 4%, whereas the scores in the cast group were excellent in 29% of cases, good in 50% and fair in 21%. The ankle performance scores were excellent or good in 88% of the patients in the early motion group, fair in 4% and poor in 8%, whereas the scores in the cast group were excellent or good in 92% of cases and fair in 8%. No significant differences were seen between the two groups at 3 months and at the last control checkups with regard to pain, stiffness, subjective calf muscle weakness, footwear restrictions, range of ankle motion, isokinetic calf muscle strength or overall outcome. The complications included 1 re-rupture in the early motion group and 1 deep infection and 2 re-ruptures in the cast group.

AT elongation occurred in both groups, but was somewhat less marked in the early motion group. The AT elongation curves rose at first and then fell slowly in both groups. The patients who had less AT elongation achieved a better clinical outcome. AT elongation did not correlate significantly with age, body mass index or isokinetic peak torques.

The recovery of motor performance functions such as simple reaction time, choice reaction time, speed of movement, foot tapping speed and coordination did not depend on the two postoperative regimens. The motor functions of the operated leg had obviously recovered to the level of the non-operated leg 12 weeks after the operation.

Sutures made of PLDLA were used successfully for Achilles tendon repair in rabbits. There was no significant difference between the in vitro and in vivo tensile strength retention of the sutures. By comparison with Maxon®, PLDLA was found to have a lower initial tensile strength but more prolonged strength retention. The breaking strength values of the Achilles tendons repaired with sutures of these types were not significantly different at 6 weeks.

Intratendinous PLDLA sutures formed a thinner fibrous capsule during the 12-week follow-up period than did Maxon® sutures of the same diameter. The suture materials had not been totally absorbed by 12 weeks.

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Series: Acta Universitatis Ouluensis. D, Medica
ISSN-E: 1796-2234
ISBN: 978-951-42-8434-2
ISBN Print: 978-951-42-8433-5
Issue: 922
Copyright information: © University of Oulu, 2007. This publication is copyrighted. You may download, display and print it for your own personal use. Commercial use is prohibited.