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Suture Tape Augmentation for the Repair of Index Finger Radial Collateral Ligament Injury: A Biomechanical Study

Published:August 10, 2022DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jhsa.2022.05.020

      Purpose

      Despite their clinical importance in maintaining the stability of the pinch mechanism, injuries of the radial collateral ligament (RCL) of the index finger may be underrecognized and underreported. The purpose of this biomechanical study was to compare the repair of index finger RCL tears with either a standard suture anchor or suture tape augmentation.

      Methods

      The index fingers from 24 fresh-frozen human cadavers underwent repair of torn RCLs using either a standard suture anchor or suture tape augmentation. Following the repairs, the initial displacement of the repair with a 3-N ulnar deviating load was evaluated. Next, the change in displacement (cyclic deformation) of the repair after 1,000 cycles of 3 N of ulnar deviating force was calculated (displacement of the 1000th cycle − displacement of the first cycle). Finally, the amount of force required to cause clinical failure (30° ulnar deviation) of the repair was determined.

      Results

      Suture tape augmentation repairs displayed significantly less cyclic deformation (0.8 ± 0.5 mm) after cyclic loading than suture anchor repairs (1.8 ± 0.7 mm). There was no significant difference in the force required to cause the clinical failure of the repairs between the suture tape (35.1 ± 18.1 N) and suture anchor (24.5 ± 9.2 N) repairs.

      Conclusions

      Index finger RCL repair with suture tape augmentation results in decreased deformation with repetitive motion compared with RCL repair alone.

      Clinical relevance

      Suture tape augmentation may allow for early mobilization following index finger RCL repair by acting as a brace that protects the repaired ligament from deforming forces.

      Key words

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