Editorial Commentary: The Anterior Cruciate Ligament May Be Safer Wearing a Suture Tape Augmentation Seat Belt: Click It or Ticket

Abstract: Bone-patellar tendon-bone autograft for anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstruction has the most data to support its use. However, there may still be room for improvement, and younger age, insufficient rehabilitation, altered neuromuscular patterns, and precocious return to play can increase risk of graft failure. High strength suture augmentation of soft-tissue repair or reconstruction has gained traction in a variety of applications for the knee, including medial collateral and posteromedial corner, lateral collateral ligament, posterior cruciate ligament, and ACL. For ACL reconstruction, the technique consists of using either suture or suture tape fixed at the femoral and tibial ACL footprints to allow for independent tensioning to back up the separately tensioned ACL reconstruction. The static augment serves as a load-sharing device, allowing the graft to see more strain during earlier levels of graft strain, until graft elongation occurs to a critical level whereby the augment will experience more strain than the graft. Hence, the “seat belt” analogy. This is distinct from static augmentation, where the high strength suture is fixed to the graft. Static augmentation (without tensioning separately from the graft) results in a load-sharing device and increased stiffness, but potential stress shielding compared with the “seat belt.” If suture tape augmentation improves patient outcome, it is a worthwhile to “click it.”

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This article refers to the following research paper