Background: An effective suture method enables early active motion exercises and optimal post-surgical outcomes. The aim of this study is to evaluate the tensile strength of three suture configurations - horizontal mattress (HM), vertical mattress (VM) and a cross suture for repair of a tendon weave. We hypothesised that the direction of mattress sutures relative to the tendon fibres would affect the tensile strength of tendon repair. Methods: Using porcine flexor tendons and the same number of surgical sutures, three tendon weave constructs differing in the method of suture were compared: HM suture configuration (conventional technique), cross-stitch (CS) configuration (conventional technique) and VM suture configuration (novel technique). Ten pairs of each group were mounted in a material testing machine and subjected to a simple tensile test and a cyclic loading test for their biomechanical comparison. Results: The VM group and CS group had significantly higher ultimate failure load, linear stiffness and fatigue strength as compared to the HM group. The failure mode was suture breakage or tendon rupture for the VM and the CS group, while the suture pullout of the tendon only occurred in the HM group. Conclusion: Among the three techniques used for repair of a tendon weave, the VM suture technique was demonstrated to have the greatest tensile strength and least associated with suture pull-out. The direction of the mattress suture in relation the direction of tendon fibres affects the strength of repair.
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