No Difference in Clinical and Radiological Outcomes Following Fixation of Transverse Patella Fractures With Either Suture Tape or Metallic Cerclage: A Retrospective Comparative Study

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Orthopaedics & Traumatology: Surgery & Research


Introduction: Several surgical techniques have been proposed for the treatment of patellar fractures. The aim of this study is to compare the clinical efficacy and complication rates of treatment using suture tape circumferential cerclage (STCC) and metallic wire circumferential cerclage (MWCC) for the surgical treatment of displaced transverse patellar fractures (TPFs).

Hypothesis: The hypothesis is that the use of the suture tape would be associated with a significantly lower rate of re-operation than metallic cerclage but no differences in other clinical outcomes.

Patients and methods: A retrospective comparative analysis of the clinical outcomes of consecutive patients undergoing fixation of TPFs with either MWCC or STCC between January 2017 and December 2018 was undertaken. All patients underwent evaluation with standardised radiographs at one, three, and six months after surgery to determine rates of union, non-union, loss of fixation and malunion. All patients underwent a final clinical evaluation at 18 months postoperatively to evaluate clinical scores and complications.

Results: A total of 26 patients were included in the study. Thirteen patients underwent STCC and 13 underwent MWCC. There were no complications in the STCC group. In the MWCC group, one patient underwent hardware removal at 2 months postoperatively due to painful prominence. There was no significant difference in re-operation rates between the STCC and MWCC groups (p=1). There were no cases of non-union, malunion or loss of fixation throughout the series. At the final clinical follow-up of 18months, there were no significant differences in KSS, KOOS or Böstman scores between the groups.

Conclusion: No significant differences were identified when comparing the clinical outcomes of fixation of AO/OTA 34C1/2 fractures with suture tape or metallic cerclage fixation concerning re-operation rates, union rates, loss of fixation and functional outcome measures. These results cannot be extrapolated to more complex injury patterns or surgical techniques in which prominence of implanted material is more likely.

Level of evidence: III.



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Circumferential cerclage, FiberTape, Non-metallic implant, Internal fixation, Suture fixation, Patellar fracture