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J Orthop Res. 2009 Jul;27(7):964-71. doi: 10.1002/jor.20804.

Injection temperature significantly affects in vitro and in vivo performance of collagen-platelet scaffolds.

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Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Children's Hospital Boston, 300 Longwood Avenue, Enders 1022, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA.


Collagen-platelet composites have recently been successfully used as scaffolds to stimulate anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) wound healing in large animal models. These materials are typically kept on ice until use to prevent premature gelation; however, with surgical use, placement of a cold solution then requires up to an hour while the solution comes to body temperature (at which point gelation occurs). Bringing the solution to a higher temperature before injection would likely decrease this intra-operative wait; however, the effects of this on composite performance are not known. The hypothesis tested here was that increasing the temperature of the gel at the time of injection would significantly decrease the time to gelation, but would not significantly alter the mechanical properties of the composite or its ability to support functional tissue repair. Primary outcome measures included the maximum elastic modulus (stiffness) of the composite in vitro and the in vivo yield load of an ACL transection treated with an injected collagen-platelet composite. In vitro findings were that injection temperatures over 30 degrees C resulted in a faster visco-elastic transition; however, the warmed composites had a 50% decrease in their maximum elastic modulus. In vivo studies found that warming the gels prior to injection also resulted in a decrease in the yield load of the healing ACL at 14 weeks. These studies suggest that increasing injection temperature of collagen-platelet composites results in a decrease in performance of the composite in vitro and in the strength of the healing ligament in vivo and this technique should be used only with great caution.

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