In the presence of a large gap where end-to-end repair of the torn Achilles tendon is difficult and V-Y advancement would likely be insufficient, augmentation is sometimes required. At our institute we have used primarily the hamstring autograft augmentation technique for the past two decades. The aim of this study was to analyze the complications after surgical treatment of Achilles tendon rupture with semitendinous tendon augmentation.
We retrospectively analyzed 58 consecutive patients treated with semitendinous tendon autograft augmentation at the Helsinki University Hospital between January 1, 2006, and January 1, 2016.
During the study period, 58 patients were operated on by six different surgeons. Of 14 observed complications (24%), seven were major and seven were minor. Most of the complications were infections (n = 10 [71%]) The infections were noted within a mean of 62 days postoperatively (range, 22–180 days). Seven patients with a complication underwent repeated operation because of skin edge necrosis and deep infection (five patients), hematoma formation (one patient), and a repeated rupture (one patient).
In light of the experience we have had with autologous semitendinous tendon graft augmentation, we cannot recommend this technique, and, hence, we should abandon reconstruction of Achilles tendon ruptures with autologous semitendinous tendon grafts at our institute. Instead, other augmentation techniques, such as flexor hallucis longus tendon transfer, should be used.