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Suitability of Thiel embalmed tendons for biomechanical investigation


Fessel, G; Frey, K; Schweizer, A; Calcagni, M; Ullrich, O; Snedeker, J G (2011). Suitability of Thiel embalmed tendons for biomechanical investigation. Annals of Anatomy = Anatomischer Anzeiger, 193(3):237-241.

Abstract

The standard post-mortem storage method for biomechanical testing is freezing. Freezing minimally alters the biomechanical characteristics of tendons but only suspends the process of decay. Chemical fixation arrests decay and overcomes risk of infection, but alters the biomechanical properties of tendons. On the other hand, Thiel preservation has been reported to maintain soft tissue consistency similar to that of living tissue. The current study investigates the effects of Thiel embalming on human digitorum profundus tendons (FDP) from fresh-frozen and Thiel embalmed cadavers. Cross-sectional area was measured at pre-load, samples were preconditioned and then ramped at a constant strain-rate to failure. Thiel preserved tendons had statistically lower failure stress with median of 38MPa compared to fresh frozen samples with median of 60MPa (p-value=0.048) and trended to a decreased tangential modulus. To overcome limited donor number and masking factors of age, gender, and time embalmed, we also performed experiments in rat tail tendon fascicle. Similar quasi-static ramp to failure tests were performed with control and Thiel treated sample pairs. Similar differences were observed to those found as in human FDP, however these trends were statistically significant. In both tendons, Thiel preserved samples demonstrated altered failure characteristics, indicating a different collagen fiber/collagen network failure mechanism most likely due to partial denaturing by boric acid in Thiel solution. In conclusion, Thiel embalmed tendons did not faithfully represent the biomechanical characteristics of fresh frozen tendons.

Abstract

The standard post-mortem storage method for biomechanical testing is freezing. Freezing minimally alters the biomechanical characteristics of tendons but only suspends the process of decay. Chemical fixation arrests decay and overcomes risk of infection, but alters the biomechanical properties of tendons. On the other hand, Thiel preservation has been reported to maintain soft tissue consistency similar to that of living tissue. The current study investigates the effects of Thiel embalming on human digitorum profundus tendons (FDP) from fresh-frozen and Thiel embalmed cadavers. Cross-sectional area was measured at pre-load, samples were preconditioned and then ramped at a constant strain-rate to failure. Thiel preserved tendons had statistically lower failure stress with median of 38MPa compared to fresh frozen samples with median of 60MPa (p-value=0.048) and trended to a decreased tangential modulus. To overcome limited donor number and masking factors of age, gender, and time embalmed, we also performed experiments in rat tail tendon fascicle. Similar quasi-static ramp to failure tests were performed with control and Thiel treated sample pairs. Similar differences were observed to those found as in human FDP, however these trends were statistically significant. In both tendons, Thiel preserved samples demonstrated altered failure characteristics, indicating a different collagen fiber/collagen network failure mechanism most likely due to partial denaturing by boric acid in Thiel solution. In conclusion, Thiel embalmed tendons did not faithfully represent the biomechanical characteristics of fresh frozen tendons.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > Institute of Anatomy
04 Faculty of Medicine > University Hospital Zurich > Division of Surgical Research
04 Faculty of Medicine > Balgrist University Hospital, Swiss Spinal Cord Injury Center
04 Faculty of Medicine > University Hospital Zurich > Clinic for Reconstructive Surgery
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
610 Medicine & health
Language:English
Date:2011
Deposited On:07 Feb 2012 09:57
Last Modified:07 Dec 2017 12:05
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:0940-9602 (P) 1618-0402 (E)
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.aanat.2011.03.007
PubMed ID:21511447

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