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J Orthop Res. 1991 Mar;9(2):209-18.

Effects of gamma irradiation on the initial mechanical and material properties of goat bone-patellar tendon-bone allografts.

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Noyes-Giannestras Biomechanics Laboratories, Department of Aerospace Engineering and Engineering Mechanics, University of Cincinnati, Ohio 45221-0048.


The effects of 60Co gamma irradiation on the initial mechanical properties of the composite bone-patellar tendon-bone unit (CU) and the tendon midsubstance (TM) were studied. Frozen specimens were exposed to either 2 or 3 Mrad of gamma irradiation. Paired frozen specimens served as intraanimal controls. Treatment effects on the CU were assessed using four mechanical parameters. Effects on the TM were assessed using four material parameters measured using an optical surface-strain analysis system. The maximum force and strain energy to maximum force of the composite unit were significantly reduced 27% and 40%, respectively, after 3 Mrad of irradiation (p less than .05). Mechanical properties of the CU were not significantly altered, however, following 2 Mrad of irradiation. Based on individual paired contrasts between treatment and control, significant differences were also found in the material properties of the tendon midsubstance. The maximum stress, maximum strain, and strain energy density to maximum stress were significantly reduced following 3 Mrad, but not 2 Mrad, of irradiation. The results provide important "time zero" material property data, which will be useful for later anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction studies using irradiated allograft patellar tendons in the goat model and other animal models as well.

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