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J Biomech. 1986;19(5):399-404.

Effects of postmortem storage by freezing on ligament tensile behavior.


The purpose of this study is to examine the effect of prolonged postmortem freezing storage (between 1 1/2 and 3 months at -20 degrees C) on the structural properties of the medial collateral ligament (MCL)-bone complex as well as the mechanical properties of the MCL substance from the rabbit knee. Tensile testing of the femur-MCL-tibia specimen was performed and no statistically significant changes were noted between the fresh and stored samples in terms of the cyclic stress relaxation, the load-deformation characteristics, as well as the load, deformation and energy absorbing capability at failure. The area of hysteresis of the stored samples was significantly reduced in the first few cycles, however. The mechanical properties of the MCL substance, as represented by the stress-strain curves, tensile strength and ultimate strain also did not change following storage. We conclude, therefore, proper and careful storage by freezing would have little or no effect on the biomechanical properties of the ligaments.

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