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J Orthop Res. 1990 Jul;8(4):532-40.

The effects of test environment and cyclic stretching on the failure properties of human patellar tendons.

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  • 1Department of Biomechanics, Michigan State University, East Lansing 48824.


There is a need to document the mechanical properties of patellar tendon allografts used for reconstructive surgery of the damaged anterior cruciate ligament, especially the effects of irradiation sterilization. The purpose of this study was to investigate the influences of in vitro test environment and low-level cyclic stretching prior to failure tests on nonirradiated and irradiated human graft tissues. Bilateral patellar tendons were split and each half processed accordingly. Some graft tissues were stretched cyclically at 2.5 mm deformation before failure. Experiments were performed in a 37 degrees C saline bath or with tissues moistened with a drip of the same. The irradiated grafts relaxed less and generated less slack length in the drip environment than the nonirradiated controls. Cyclic stretching did not alter failure characteristics of either graft tissue. While no significant differences in the tensile responses or failure characteristics were noted for irradiated and nonirradiated grafts in the drip, in the bath environment the nonirradiated tissues had greater strength and modulus. This resulted in there being a significant difference between irradiated and nonirradiated tissue responses in a heated saline bath environment. These experimental results exemplify the need to control in vitro test environments in the evaluation of various sterilization and preservation protocols for soft tissue allografts.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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