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Ultrasound Med Biol. 2011 Mar;37(3):474-83. doi: 10.1016/j.ultrasmedbio.2010.12.007. Epub 2011 Jan 21.

Spatial-temporal mapping of bone structural and elastic properties in a sheep model following osteotomy.

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  • 1Julius Wolff Institute and Center for Musculoskeletal Surgery, Charit√©-Universit√§tsmedizin Berlin, Berlin, Germany.


The course of bone healing in animal models is conventionally monitored by morphologic approaches, which do not allow the determination of the material properties of the tissues involved. Mechanical characterization techniques are either dedicated to the macroscopic evaluation of the entire organ or to the microscopic evaluation of the tissue matrix. The latter provides insight to regionally specific alterations at the tissue level in the course of healing. In this study, quantitative scanning acoustic microscopy was used at 50 MHz to investigate microstructural and elastic alterations of mineralized callus and cortical tissue after transverse osteotomy in sheep tibiae. Analyses were performed after 2, 3, 6 and 9 weeks of consolidation with stabilization by either a rigid or a semi-rigid external fixator. Increased stiffness and decreased porosity were observed in the callus tissue over the course of the healing process, which was dependent on the fixator type. In the adjacent cortical tissue, stiffness decreased during the first 3 weeks. Cortical porosity increased over time but the time-dependence was different between the two fixator types. The changes of stiffness of cortical and callus tissues were measured with respect to the distance to the periosteal cortex-callus boundary. Stiffness of cortex and callus tissue smoothly decreased as a function of the distance from the inner cortical region. The data obtained in this study can help to understand the processes involved in tissue maturation during endogenous bone healing.

Copyright © 2011 World Federation for Ultrasound in Medicine & Biology. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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