Failure of surgical repair of a rotator cuff tear continues to be a clinical problem. For other tendon repairs, increasing the number of sutures improves both biomechanical performance and clinical outcomes. Several investigators have shown biomechanical advantages of double-row techniques but have used many more sutures than were used with the single-row techniques with which the double-row techniques were compared. The purposes of our study were to establish whether using a greater number of sutures would improve the biomechanical properties of a rotator cuff repair model, and whether using equal numbers of sutures would lead to equivalent results between single and double-row configurations.Methods:
Fresh-frozen sheep infraspinatus tendons underwent single-row repair with two, four, or six mattress sutures and double-row repair with use of four mattress sutures. Specimens were pretensioned at 10 N for one minute, then cycled from 10 to 180 N for 200 cycles at 0.2 Hz; this was followed by load to failure. Cyclic gap formation, failure load, and failure type were recorded.Results:
The four-suture single-row and four-suture double-row repairs had similar gap formation during cyclic testing, with no significant differences between them. Cyclic gap formation in the two-suture single-row group was 6.7 and 7.1 mm (97% and 109%) greater than that in the four and six-suture single-row groups after 200 cycles (p < 0.001). The average loads to failure of the two, four, and six-suture single-row groups were 274, 362, and 572 N (p < 0.0001). The average load to failure of the four-suture double-row group was 386 N, which was similar to the value in the four-suture single-row group (p = 0.58).Conclusions:
In an ovine rotator cuff tendon repair model, increasing the number of sutures decreased cyclic gap formation and increased load to failure. Single and double-row repairs are biomechanically equivalent when the number of sutures is kept constant.Clinical Relevance:
The results of this study support the use of greater numbers of sutures in rotator cuff repair and disagree with the assertion that double-row repairs are biomechanically superior to single-row repairs.