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8th Combined Meeting Of Orthopaedic Research Societies (CORS)



Our results prove that Demineralised Cortical Bone (DCB) can be used as biological tendon graft substitute, combined with correct surgical technique and the use of suture bone anchor early mobilisation can be achieved.


Surgical repair of tendon injuries aims to restore length, mechanical strength and function. In severe injuries with loss of tendon substance a tendon graft or a substitute is usually used to restore functional length. This is usually associated with donor site morbidity, host tissue reactions and lack of remodelling of the synthetic substitutes which may result in suboptimal outcome. In this study we hypothesise that DCB present in biological tendon environment with early mobilisation and appropriate tension will result in remodelling of the DCB into ligament tissue rather that ossification of the DCB at traditional expected. Our preparatory cadaveric study (abstract submitted to CORS 2013) showed that the repair model used in this animal study has sufficient mechanical strength needed for this animal study.


6 mature female sheep undergone surgical resection of the distal 1 cm of the right patellar tendon and osteotomy of patellar tendon attachment at the tibial tuberosity under general anaesthesia. Repair was done using DCB with 2 suture bone anchor. Animals were allowed immediate mobilisation after surgery and were sacrificed at 12 weeks. The force passing through the operated and non-operated legs was assessed preoperatively and at week 3, week 6, week 9 and week 12 bay walking the animals over a force plate. Radiographs were taken immediately after euthanasia, the Patella-Tendon-tibia constructs were retrieved and pQCT scan was done. Histological analysis included tenocytes and chondrocytes cell counts, semi-quantitative scoring of the neo-enthesis and polarised microscopy.


In this study, none of the retrieved specimens showed any evidence of ossification of the DCB as proved by the pQCT analysis. One animal failed to show satisfactory progress after week 3, X-rays showed patella alta, on specimen retrieval no damage to the DCB was found, sutures and stitches were intact and no evidence of anchor pullout was found. Force plate analysis of the other 5 animals showed satisfactory progression over time with 44% functional weight bearing at week 3 progressing to 79% at week 12. There was full range of movement of the stifle joint after 12 weeks. Histological analysis proved formation of neo-enthesis with evidence of cellulisation, vascularisation and remodelling of the collagen leading to ligamentisation of the DCB.


Surgical reconstruction of damaged tendons is technically challenging, patellar tendon injuries presents even more challenging situation as it involves weight bearing joint. It is generally accepted that a period of immobilisation with passive range of movement exercises and protected weight bearing for up to 6 weeks post operatively is usually advised. Some surgeons use offloading metal wire to protect the repair for 6 weeks involving second surgical procedure to remove the wire. Demineralised bone is usually used in orthopaedics to utilise its osteogenic properties as bone graft substitute and to enhance osteogenesis in load bearing situations. In our study we explored a potential new use of the demineralised bone as tendon graft substitute, it acts as collagen scaffold allowing host cells to remodel its fibres into ligament like structure.