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Functional Outcomes of Achilles Tendon Minimally Invasive Repair Using 4- and 6-Strand Nonabsorbable Suture: A Cohort Comparison Study

Journal article
Authors Michael R Carmont
J. A. Zellers
Annelie Brorsson
Nicklas Olsson
Katarina Nilsson-Helander
Jon Karlsson
K. G. Silbernagel
Published in Orthopaedic Journal of Sports Medicine
Volume 5
Issue 8
ISSN 2325-9671
Publication year 2017
Published at Institute of Clinical Sciences, Section for Anesthesiology, Biomaterials and Orthopaedics, Department of Orthopaedics
Language en
Links doi.org/10.1177/2325967117723347
Keywords Achilles tendon, ankle, lengthening, outcome, prospective randomized-trial, total rupture score, percutaneous repair, follow-up, surgical repair, resting angle, deficits, rehabilitation, reliability, endurance, Sport Sciences
Subject categories Orthopedics


Background: The aim of management of Achilles tendon rupture is to reduce tendon lengthening and maximize function while reducing the rerupture rate and minimizing other complications. Purpose: To determine changes in Achilles tendon resting angle (ATRA), heel-rise height, patient-reported outcomes, return to play, and occurrence of complications after minimally invasive repair of Achilles tendon ruptures using nonabsorbable sutures. Methods: Between March 2013 and August 2015, a total of 70 patients (58 males, 12 females) with a mean age of 42 8 years were included and evaluated at 6 weeks and 3, 6, 9, and 12 months after repair of an Achilles tendon rupture. Surgical repair was performed using either 4-strand or 6-strand nonabsorbable sutures. After surgery, patients were mobilized, fully weightbearing using a functional brace. Early active movement was permitted starting at 2 weeks. Results: There were no significant differences in the ATRA, Achilles Tendon Total Rupture Score (ATRS), and Heel-Rise Height Index (HRHI) between the 4- and 6-strand repairs. The mean (SD) relative ATRA was -13.1 degrees (6.6 degrees) (dorsiflexion) following injury; this was reduced to 7.6 degrees (4.8 degrees) (plantar flexion) directly after surgery. During initial rehabilitation at 6 weeks, the relative ATRA was 0.6 degrees (7.4 degrees) (neutral) and -7.0 degrees (5.3 degrees) (dorsiflexion) at 3 months, after which ATRA improved significantly with time to 12 months (P = .005). At 12 months, the median ATRS was 93 (range, 35-100), and the mean (SD) HRHI and Heel-Rise Repetition Index were 81% (0.22%) and 82.9% (0.17%), respectively. The relative ATRA at 3 and 12 months correlated with HRHI (r = 0.617, P < .001 and r = 0.535, P < .001, respectively). Conclusion: Increasing the number of suture strands from 4 to 6 does not alter the ATRA or HRHI after minimally invasive Achilles tendon repair. The use of a nonabsorbable suture during minimally invasive repair when used together with accelerated rehabilitation did not prevent the development of an increased relative ATRA. The ATRA at 3 months after surgery correlated with heel-rise height at 12 months.

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