Biomechanical tests of soft tissues, especially those from human cadavers, are generally done after a period of postmortem storage by freezing. In some instances, specimen preparation and testing can be complex and can take place over several days, thus necessitating an additional period of frozen storage before biomechanical evaluation is completed. Studies have been done in the past, which investigated the effects of postmortem freezing on the tensile properties of ligament-bone complexes (Viidik and Lewin 1966; Noyes and Grood 1976; Dorlot 1980; Barad 1982; Nikolaou 1986; Woo, Orlando et al. 1986). It has been shown in our laboratory that careful postmortem freezing for up to three months did not significantly change the mechanical properties of the ligament midsubstance and the cyclic stress relaxation behavior and the structural properties of the ligament-bone complex, but the area of hysteresis was significantly reduced in the stored specimens for the first few cycles of cyclic stress relaxation (Woo, Orlando et al. 1986). Hence, it is important to ensure that an additional freezing and thawing cycle will not further change the tensile properties of these tissues. Therefore, the objective of this study was to evaluate the effects of freezing and thawing twice at 20°C on the structural and viscoelastic properties of femur-medial collateral ligament-tibia complex (FMTC) in a rabbit model.

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