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Permanent URL to this publication: http://dx.doi.org/10.5167/uzh-66690

Meyer, D C; Snedeker, J G; Weinert-Aplin, Robert A; Farshad, Mazda (2012). Viscoelastic adaptation of tendon graft material to compression: biomechanical quantification of graft preconditioning. Archives of Orthopaedic and Trauma Surgery, 132(9):1315-1320.

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PURPOSE: The tensile viscoelastic behaviour of tendon tissue is of central biomechanical importance and well examined. However, the viscoelastic tendon adaptation to external compression, such as when a tendon graft is fixated with an interference screw, has not been investigated before. Here, we quantify this adaptive behaviour in order to develop a new method to mechanically precondition tendon grafts and to better understand volumetric changes of tendinous tissue. The hypothesis of this study was that under compressive loads, tendon grafts will undergo a temporary volumetric (and therefore diametric) reduction, due to the extrusion of water from the tendon.
METHODS: Compressive testing was performed on a material testing machine and load applied through the use of a custom-made mould, with a semi-circular cross section to accommodate the tendon graft. The effects of different compressive forces on the length, diameter and weight of tendon grafts were measured by calipers and a weighing scale, respectively. Further, different strain rates (1 vs. 10 mm/min) (n = 6, per rate), compression method (steady compression vs. creep) (n = 15 for each method) and different compression durations (1, 5, 10 min) (n = 5 for each duration) were tested to identify the most effective combination to reduce graft size by preserving its macroscopic structure.
RESULTS: The effect of compression on volume reduction (75 % of initial volume and weight) reached a plateau at 6,000 N on an 8-mm tendon bundle. Length thereby increased by approximately 10 %. Both steady compression and creeping were able to reduce dimensions of the graft; however, creeping was more effective. There was no difference in effect with different durations for compression (p > 0.05) in both methods.
CONCLUSION: The viscoelastic behaviour of hamstring tendon grafts under pressure allows preconditioning of the grafts for reduction of volume and diameter and therefore to drill a smaller bone tunnel, retaining more of the original bone. At the same time, the collagen content of the transplant is preserved and a tight fit of the transplant in the bone tunnel achieved.




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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > Balgrist University Hospital, Swiss Spinal Cord Injury Center
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Date:September 2012
Deposited On:15 Nov 2012 12:47
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 16:05
Publisher DOI:10.1007/s00402-012-1553-0
PubMed ID:22669544

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