Open versus minimally-invasive surgery for Achilles tendon rupture: a meta-analysis study



Despite the presence of various different surgical procedures, the preferable technique for repair of acute Achilles tendon ruptures is unknown and, therefore, object of discussions. The purpose of this meta-analysis was to compare clinical outcomes and complication-rates between the minimally invasive and the standard open repair of acute Achilles tendon ruptures.

Materials and methods

This meta-analysis was performed according to the PRISMA guidelines. In September 2019 the main databases were accessed. All clinical trials of evidence level I to III comparing minimally invasive vs. open surgery of Achilles tendon rupture were included in the present study. Only articles reporting quantitative data under the outcomes of interest were included. Missing data under the outcomes of interest warranted the exclusion from the present work. For the statistical analysis we referred to the Review Manager Software Version 5.3. (The Nordic Cochrane Centre, Copenhagen). Continuous data were analysed through the inverse variance method. For the effect estimate the mean difference was used. Dichotomous data were analysed through the Mante–Haenszel method via odd ratio effect measure. The confidence interval was set at 95% in all the comparisons. Values of P < 0.05 were considered statistically significant.


A total of 25 articles were included for meta-analysis. The funnel plot revealed poor data dispersion, attesting to this study a low risk of publication bias. The quality of the methodological assessment was moderate. Data from 2223 (1055 open, 1168 minimally invasive) surgical procedures were extracted. The mean follow-up was of 24.29 ± 22.4 months. The open group reported a lower value of post-operative palpable knot at last follow-up and a lower rate of sural nerve palsy. In the minimally-invasive group a shorter surgery duration and a lower rate of post-operative wound necrosis and reduced risk of wound scarring and adhesions has been evidenced. The minimally-invasive cohort detected the lowest values of superficial and deep infections. In both groups no significant difference was shown in re-rupture rate.


Compared to the minimally-invasive Achilles tendon reconstruction, the open procedure evidenced a lower rate of sural nerve palsy and postoperative palpable knot, whereas in the minimally-invasive reconstruction group quicker surgery duration, a lower rate of post-operative wound necrosis, superficial and deep infections and less scar tissue adhesions could be observed. No relevant discrepancies were detected among the two techniques in terms of post-operative re-rupture.

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Correspondence to Matthias Gatz.

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Gatz, M., Driessen, A., Eschweiler, J. et al. Open versus minimally-invasive surgery for Achilles tendon rupture: a meta-analysis study. Arch Orthop Trauma Surg 141, 383–401 (2021).

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  • Achilles tendon rupture
  • Percutaneous
  • Minimal invasive
  • Open surgery
  • Complications