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Understanding in-vivo abrasion fatigue or common suture materials used in arthroscopic and open shoulder surgery
journal contributionposted on 2013-01-01, 00:00 authored by Christopher HurrenChristopher Hurren, Alessandra SuttiAlessandra Sutti, E Savage, S Slader, Richard PageRichard Page
In orthopaedic surgery the reattachment of tendon to bone requires suture materials that have stable and durable properties to allow healing at the tendon-bone interface. Failure rates of this type of surgery can be as high as 25%. While the tissue suture interface is a weak link, proportions of these failures are caused by in-vivo abrasion of the suture with bone and suture anchor materials. Abrasion of the suture material results from the movement of the suture through the eyelet by the surgeon during surgery, or with limb movement after surgery as the suture is not rigidly restrained within the eyelet. During movement the suture is subjected to bending and frictional forces that can lead to fatigue induced failure. This paper investigates the mechanism of bending abrasion fatigue induced failure of number two grade braided sheath only and braided sheath/multifilament core sutures. Sutures were oscillated over a stainless steel wire at low frequency under load in a dry state to simulate the bending and frictional forces between suture and eyelet. Failure mechanism was determined by video microscopy of the suture during abrasion combined with optical microscopy analysis of partially and fully abraded sutures. Braided only structures had high friction loading on the small number of fibres at the abrasion interface. This caused rapid single fibre breakages that accumulate to cause suture failure. The addition of ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene core fibres to a braided suture distributed the applied load across multiple fibres at the abrasion interface. This improved abrasion resistance by 15-20 times that of braided sheath alone.