Objectives: The purpose of this study was to compare the load at failure, stiffness and mode of failure between three types of tibial tuberosity transposition fixation techniques: (a) pin and figure-8 tension band wire (Pin-TBW), (b) locking plate with pin and a tension band wire (Plate-Pin-TBW) and (c) locking plate with a pin (Plate-Pin).
Methods: Six pairs of raccoon dog cadaveric tibiae were tested in Phase I Pin-TBW versus Plate-Pin-TBW and seven pairs in Phase II Plate-Pin-TBW versus Plate-Pin. One limb of each pair was randomly assigned to one of two groups for each phase. A tensile force was applied to the patellar ligament until construct failure.
Results: Pin-TBW (342N ± 54.7N) failed at a lower load than Plate-Pin-TBW (469N ± 77.3N), p = 0.00748, with all Pin-TBW failing by fracture and the majority of Plate-Pin-TBW failing by rupture of patellar ligament. Pin-TBW group Phase I, normalized with Plate-Pin-TBW Phase I, failed at a lower load than Plate-Pin group Phase II, normalized with Plate-Pin-TBW Phase II, p = 0.00467. There was no significant difference in mean load at failure, stiffness or mode at failure between the groups in the Phase II study.
Clinical significance: Although ex vivo mechanical testing does not replicate the postoperative live dog or cat, these results demonstrate lower construct strength of the Pin-TBW construct compared with the Plate-Pin construct in the raccoon dog cadaver model.