A Biomechanical Comparison of Suture Constructs Used for Coracoclavicular Fixation


There is no consensus regarding surgical treatment for severely dislocated acromioclavicular joints. Although many treatments are suture-based, the suture materials and resulting suture-bone constructs have been subjected to limited systematic evaluation. This study identifies the strongest and least deforming suture construct among those commonly used for such repairs. Each suture-based repair was tested on a simulated clavicle and coracoid process with the skeletal components distracted until the suture failed to obtain tensile strength. Additional groups of sutures were subjected to cyclic loading to determine resistance to deformation. Panacryl braid had significantly greater tensile strength than all other constructs: Polydioxanone (PDS) braid, Mersilene tape, and Ethibond #5. Deformation after cyclic loading of Panacryl braid, PDS braid, and two strands of Mersilene tape was significantly less than that of the other constructs. A bioabsorbable suture loop, such as Panacryl, can act as a temporary internal splint, maintaining acromioclavicular joint reduction long enough for ligamentous healing during rehabilitation, and can avoid complications associated with permanent fixation materials. Panacryl braid deserves serious consideration for coracoclavicular fixation because of its strength, resistance to deformation, and bioabsorbable properties. (Journal of the Southern Orthopaedic Association 12(3):143–148, 2003)

M. Quinn Wickham, BS, Douglas J. Wyland, MD, Richard R. Glisson, BS,
Kevin P. Speer, MD