Systematic Review| Volume 38, ISSUE 7, P2321-2330, July 2022

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Smaller Gap Formation With Suture Anchor Fixation Than Traditional Transpatellar Sutures in Patella and Quadriceps Tendon Rupture: A Systematic Review

Published:January 20, 2022DOI:


      The purpose of this study is to compare the biomechanical properties between traditional transosseous tunnel and suture anchor technique repair for extensor mechanism ruptures and assess for differences in the mechanism of failure of both techniques.


      A multi-database search (PubMed, EMBASE, and Medline) was performed according to PRISMA guidelines on November 14, 2021. All articles comparing biomechanical properties of transpatellar and suture anchor technique for extensor mechanism ruptures were included. Abstracts, reviews, case reports, studies without biomechanical analysis, conference proceedings, and non-English language studies were excluded. Outcomes pursued included gap formation, load to failure, and mechanism of failure. Relevant data from studies meeting inclusion criteria were extracted and analyzed. Study methodology was assessed using the Methodological Index for Non-Randomized Studies score.


      A total of 212 knees were biomechanically assessed, including 98 patella and 114 quadricep tendon ruptures. Five patellar tendon studies were included, and all of them reported significantly smaller gap formation in suture anchor group. Gap formation for suture anchors ranged from .9 mm to 4.1 mm, while that of transpatellar group ranged from 2.9 mm to 10.3 mm. One study reported a significantly higher load to failure in the suture anchor group, while the remaining four studies reported no significant difference. Load to failure for suture anchor ranged from 259 N to 779 N, while that of the transpatellar group ranged from 287 N to 763 N. The most common mechanism of failure was anchor pullout in suture anchor and knot failure in the transpatellar group. Five quadriceps tendon studies were included, and three studies reported statistically significant smaller gap formation in the suture anchor group. Gap formation for suture anchor ranged from 1.5 mm to 5.0 mm, while that of transpatellar group ranged from 3.1 mm to 33.3 mm. Two studies reported a significantly higher load to failure in the suture anchor group, while one study reported a higher load to failure in the transpatellar repair group. Load to failure for suture anchor ranged from 286 N to 740 N, while that of transpatellar group ranged from 251 N to 691 N. The most common mechanism of failure was suture failure in the suture anchor and knot failure in the transpatellar group.


      Suture anchor fixation displays a better biomechanical profile than traditional transpatellar techniques in terms of smaller gap formations in the repair of both patella and quadriceps tendon injuries. Anchor pullout in suture anchor fixation was present mainly with the use of titanium anchors.

      Clinical Relevance

      These findings above may result in better retention of tendon approximation in patella and quadriceps tendon fixation postoperatively, which may result in earlier recovery. Further randomized controlled clinical trials to compare these techniques are required.
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