Modified triple Kessler with least risk of elongation among Achilles tendon repair techniques: a systematic review and network meta-analysis of human cadaveric studies

Pedro Diniz, J. come Pacheco, Ricardo M. Fernandes, H. lder Pereira, Frederico Castelo Ferreira, Gino M. M. J. Kerkhoffs

Research output: Contribution to JournalReview articleAcademicpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Purpose: Current treatment recommendations emphasize early loading, with preservation of tendon length and physiologic tension. The objective of this systematic review and network meta-analysis was to compare failure load and elongation after cyclic loading of Achilles tendon repair techniques at time-zero. Methods: The databases PubMed, CENTRAL and Web of Science were searched for all published in-vitro studies comparing Achilles tendon repair techniques, or augmentation with autografts/biomaterials, and reports of failure load or elongation after cyclic loading. Only studies using human cadaveric Achilles tendons and matched pairs, or randomized specimen allocation, were selected for quantitative synthesis. A network meta-analysis per primary outcome was performed. Results were summarized as P score rankings and their validity was assessed using statistical methods. Results: Sixteen studies, comprising 367 tendon repairs, were included. The following repair techniques were used (n = number of studies): Krackow (n = 8), Achillon (n = 4), double Krackow (n = 3), Bunnell (n = 3), Percutaneous Achilles Repair System (n = 3), Percutaneous Achilles Repair System Midsubstance (n = 2), Kessler (n = 3), double Kessler (n = 1), modified triple Kessler (n = 1), triple bundle (n = 1), a multifilament stainless steel cable-crimp technique (n = 1) and a double loop knot stitch (n = 1). Five studies assessed augmentation with autografts/biomaterials. Regarding the failure load, biomaterial augmented Krackow repairs occupied the first four positions in the ranking, followed by the multifilament stainless steel cable-crimp and Percutaneous Achilles Repair System Midsubstance techniques. Concerning elongation after cyclic loading, the triple Kessler was ranked first, followed by the Achillon and Percutaneous Achilles Repair System Midsubstance techniques. A negligible correlation between ranks was found (rs = 0.11; p = 0.75n.s.), meaning that a higher repair tensile strength is not necessarily related to improved performance in regard to avoidance of elongation. Conclusion: In the failure load network meta-analysis, biomaterial augmented Krackow repairs ranked highest, but noticeable statistical heterogeneity was found. Regarding elongation with cyclic loading, the modified triple Kessler stitch showed the highest probability of ranking first. Level of evidence: Level IV.
Original languageEnglish
JournalKnee Surgery, Sports Traumatology, Arthroscopy
Early online date2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2021


  • Achilles tendon rupture
  • Cadaveric studies
  • Network meta-analysis
  • Tendon repair techniques

Cite this