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Effect of Vancomycin Soaking on Anterior Cruciate Ligament Graft Biomechanics

Published:October 29, 2020DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.arthro.2020.10.040

      Abstract

      Purpose

      To evaluate the effect of soaking of anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) grafts in vancomycin solution on graft biomechanical properties at the time of implantation.

      Methods

      The central third of patellar tendons was harvested from mature bovine knees and prepared as a tendon-only graft or a bone-tendon-bone (BTB) graft. Tendons were wrapped in gauze soaked in vancomycin solution (VS) (5 mg/mL) or normal saline (NS) and left to stand for 30 minutes at room temperature, simulating graft exposure times in the operating room during ACL reconstruction. Tensile testing was carried out on a materials testing system with (1) low-magnitude loading (60 N at 3 mm/s) with repeated testing of tendon-only grafts; and (2) high-magnitude loading (600 N at 10 mm/min) of BTB grafts. For tendon-only grafts, specimens were first wrapped in NS-soaked gauze and underwent testing, with repeated testing performed after wrapping in gauze soaked in VS or buffered VS (pH 7.0). For BTB grafts, specimens were randomly assigned to treatment with VS or NS.

      Results

      For tendon-only grafts, there was no difference in Young’s modulus (YM) after soaking with VS soaking (baseline, 12.69 MPa; treatment, 16.07 ± 4.44 MPa; P = .99) or buffered VS (baseline, 12.45 ± 4.55 MPa; treatment, 15.56 ± 2.83 MPa; P = .99). For BTB grafts, there were no differences in elongation strain (VS, 46.8% ± 7.0%; NS, 31.5% ± 13.5%, P = .19) or YM (VS, 158.4 ± 15.8 MPa; NS, 158.5 ± 23.3 MPa, P = .99).

      Conclusions

      According to controlled biomechanical tests, vancomycin soaking of patellar tendon grafts does not adversely affect time-zero material properties.

      Clinical Relevance

      This study suggests that vancomycin wrapping has no immediate adverse effects on the biomechanical properties of ACL grafts. Randomized controlled trials are warranted to validate the widespread use of vancomycin soaking of tendon grafts for infection prophylaxis during ACL reconstruction.
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