We previously reported on the short-term biocompatibility of a reconstituted type-I collagen prosthesis that had been tested in the Achilles tendons of rabbits. Preliminary results indicated that, by ten weeks after implantation, carbodiimide-cross-linked implants had been replaced by neotendon in a manner that was similar to that of autogenous tendon grafts that had been used as controls. Also by ten weeks after implantation, glutaraldehyde-cross-linked collagen implants were encapsulated and appeared to have caused an acute inflammatory response. In the present study, carbodiimide and glutaraldehyde-cross-linked collagen implants and autogenous grafts that served as controls were implanted for fifty-two weeks as a replacement for a three-centimeter section of the Achilles tendon of rabbits. The absence of a crimp in a cross-linked implant and the presence of a crimp in normal tendon and in tendon that formed after an implant had been resorbed made it possible to distinguish between a cross-linked implant and new host tendon that had replaced the implant after it was resorbed. New collagen that had replaced the implant and autogenous (control) tendon graft were compared with normal Achilles tendon with respect to the angle and length of the crimp. The autogenous grafts and the carbodiimide-cross-linked collagen implants had been completely resorbed and replaced by neotendon. The neotendon that was present fifty-two weeks after implantation was similar, but not identical, to normal tendon. In contrast, the glutaraldehyde-cross-linked implant was essentially inert, had not been resorbed, and was surrounded by a capsule of collagenous connective tissue. The neotendon in the capsule was also similar, but not identical, to normal tendon. There were more cells in the capsule than in the autogenous grafts or in the carbodiimide-cross-linked implants. The results of the present study indicate that rapid repair is achieved with a carbodiimide-cross-linked collagenous implant that has a structure and mechanical properties that are similar to those of an autogenous tendon graft and that biodegrades at a similar rate. Prolonged biodegradation of a glutaraldehyde-cross-linked collagenous implant results in formation of a capsule and only limited formation of neotendon.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine