Biomechanical Testing of a Novel Suture Pattern for Repair of Equine Tendon Lacerations


Corresponding author Jennifer Barrett PhD, DVM, Marion duPont Scott Equine Medical Center, Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine, Virginia Tech, 17690 Old Waterford Road, Leesburg, VA 20176. E-mail:



To compare in vitro biomechanical properties of a novel suture pattern to a current standard for primary repair of equine superficial digital flexor tendon (SDFT) laceration.

Study Design

In vitro randomized, paired design.


Cadaveric equine forelimb SDFT (n = 24).


The 3-loop pulley (3LP) and 6-strand Savage (SSS) suture patterns were applied to transected equine SDFT. Ultimate failure load, stiffness, mode of failure, and load required to form a 3-mm gap were obtained using a materials testing system and synchronized high-speed video analysis. Statistical comparisons were made using Student's t-test, with significance set at P < .05.


The SSS repair failed at a higher ultimate load (421.1 N ± 47.6) than the 3LP repair (193.7 N ± 43.0; P < .001). There was no significant difference in stiffness (P = .99). Failure mode was suture breakage for all SSS repair and suture pull through for all 3LP repair. The maximum load to create a 3-mm gap in the SSS repair (102.0 N ± 22.4) was not significantly different from the 3LP repair (109.9 N ± 16.0; P = .27).


SSS tenorrhaphy has improved strength and resistance to pull through compared with 3LP for equine SDFT in a single load-to-failure test. Load required to form a 3-mm gap was not significantly different between SSS and 3LP.