Shear Lag Sutures: Improved Suture Repair through the Use of Adhesives


Conventional surgical suture is mechanically limited by the ability of the suture to transfer load to tissue at suture anchor points. Sutures coated with adhesives can improve mechanical load transfer beyond the range of performance of existing suture methods, thereby strengthening orthopaedic repairs and decreasing the risk of failure. The mechanical properties of suitable adhesives were identified using a shear lag model. Examination of the design space for an optimal adhesive demonstrated requirements for strong adhesion and low stiffness to maximize strength. As a proof of concept, cyanoacrylate-coated sutures were used to perform a clinically relevant flexor digitorum profundus tendon repair in cadaver tissue. Even with this non-ideal adhesive, the maximum load resisted by repaired cadaveric canine flexor tendon increased by ∼ 17.0% compared to standard repairs without adhesive. To rapidly assess adhesive binding to tendon, we additionally developed a lap shear test method using bovine deep digital flexor tendons as the adherends. Further study is needed to develop a strongly adherent, compliant adhesive within the optimal design space described by the model.

Meeting Name

ASME 2016 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition, IMECE2016 (2016: Nov. 11-17, Phoenix, AZ)


Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Keywords and Phrases

Adhesives; Biomechanics; Fiber optic sensors; Repair; Testing; Tissue; Lap shear tests; Mechanical load transfer; Optimal design space; Proof of concept; Risk of failure; Shear-lag model; Surgical sutures; Transfer loads; Tendons

International Standard Book Number (ISBN)


Document Type

Article - Conference proceedings

Document Version


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© 2016 American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Nov 2016