Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) as a Suture Material in Tendon Surgery

Polykandriotis E, Himmler M, Mansouri S, Ruppe F, Grüner J, Bräuer L, Schubert DW, Horch RE (2022)

Publication Type: Journal article

Publication year: 2022


Journal Issue: 188

DOI: 10.3791/64115


With the evolution of suture materials, there has been a change in paradigms in primary and secondary tendon repair. Improved mechanical properties allow more aggressive rehabilitation and earlier recovery. However, for the repair to hold against higher mechanical demands, more advanced suturing and knotting techniques must be assessed in combination with those materials. In this protocol, the use of polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) as a suture material in combination with different repair techniques was investigated. In the first part of the protocol, both linear tension strength and elongation of knotted against not-knotted strands of three different materials used in flexor tendon repair were evaluated. The three different materials are polypropylene (PPL), ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene with a braided jacket of polyester (UHMWPE), and polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE). In the next part (ex vivo experiments with cadaveric flexor tendons), the behavior of PTFE using different suture techniques was assessed and compared with PPL and UHMWPE. This experiment is comprised of four steps: harvesting of the flexor tendons from fresh cadaveric hands, transection of the tendons in a standardized manner, tendon repair by four different techniques, mounting, and measurement of the tendon repairs on a standard linear dynamometer. The UHMWPE and PTFE showed comparable mechanical properties and were significantly superior to PPL in terms of linear traction strength. Repairs with four- and six-strand techniques proved stronger than two-strand techniques. Handling and knotting of PTFE are a challenge due to very low surface friction but fastening of the four- or six-strand repair is comparatively easy to achieve. Surgeons routinely use PTFE suture material in cardiovascular surgery and breast surgery. The PTFE strands are suitable for use in tendon surgery, providing a robust tendon repair so that early active motion regimens for rehabilitation can be applied.

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Polykandriotis, E., Himmler, M., Mansouri, S., Ruppe, F., Grüner, J., Bräuer, L.,... Horch, R.E. (2022). Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) as a Suture Material in Tendon Surgery. Journal of Visualized Experiments, 188. https://doi.org/10.3791/64115


Polykandriotis, Elias, et al. "Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) as a Suture Material in Tendon Surgery." Journal of Visualized Experiments 188 (2022).

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