Butyric acid (BA), in the appropriate concentration, has been shown to be angiogenic and to enhance transcriptional activity in tissue. These properties of BA have the potential to augment biologic healing in a repaired tendon. The purpose of this study is to evaluate this possibility through the comparison of biomechanical properties of healing tendons repaired with BA-coated suture versus control suture.
A rabbit Achilles tendon model was used to evaluate the biomechanical strength of tendon healing at six weeks in twenty-three rabbits repaired either with BA-coated Ultrabraid (Smith & Nephew Endoscopy, Andover, MA) suture (n=14), or control Ultrabraid suture (n=9). Unilateral tendon defects were created in the middle bundle of the Achilles tendon of each rabbit, which were repaired equivalently with either BA-coated suture or control suture. The samples were harvested at six weeks post-repair and biomechanically tested using Video Dimension Analysis to determine sample stiffness.
At six weeks after repair, the tendon samples repaired with BA-coated suture had significantly increased stiffness relative to the tendons repaired with control suture. The Young's modulus was 84.9 ± 11.5 MPa in the BA group and 58.8 ± 15.2 MPa in the control group (p<0.05).
Tendons repaired with BA-coated sutures demonstrated improved biomechanical properties at six weeks in a rabbit model. These findings are encouraging as a relatively simple alteration of suture material may augment early tendon healing to create a stronger repair construct during this time.
© 2010 Arthroscopy Association of North America. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.