Due to ready availability, decreased cost, and freedom from transmissible diseases in humans such as hepatitis and AIDS, it would be advantageous to use tendon grafts from farm animals as a substitute for human tendon grafts in in vitro experiments aimed at improving the outcome of anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstructive surgery. Thus the objective of this study was to determine whether an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) graft composed of two loops of bovine common digital extensor tendon has the same viscoelastic, structural, and material properties as a graft composed of a double loop of semitendinosus and gracilis tendons from humans. To satisfy this objective, grafts were constructed from each tissue source. The cross-sectional area was measured using an area micrometer, and each graft was then pulled using a materials testing system while submerged in a saline bath. Using two groups of tendon grafts viscoelastic tests were conducted over a three-day period during which a constant displacement load relaxation test was followed by a constant amplitude, cyclic load creep test (first day), a constant load creep test (second day), and an incremental cyclic load creep test (third day). Load-to-failure tests were performed on two different groups of grafts When the viscoelastic behavior was compared, there were no significant differences in the rate of load decay or the final load (relaxation test) and rates of displacement increase or final displacements (creep tests) To compare both the structural and material properties in the toe region (i.e., <250 N) of the load-elongation curve, the tangent stiffness and modulus functions were computed from parameters used in an exponential model fit to the load (stress)—elongation (strain) data. Although one of the two parameters in the functions was different statistically, this difference translated into a difference of only 0.03 mm in displacement at 250 N of load. In the linear region (i.e., 50–75 percent of ultimate load) of the load-elongation curve, the linear stiffness of the two graft types compared closely (444 N/mm for bovine and 418 N/mm for human) At failure, the ultimate loads (2901 N and 2914 N for bovine and human, respectively) and the ultimate stresses (71.8 MPa and 65.6 MPa for bovine and human, respectively) were not significantly different The theoretical effect of any differences in properties between these two grafts on the results of two types of in vitro experiments (i.e., effect of surgical variables on knee laxity and structural properties of fixation devices) are discussed. Despite some statistical differences in the properties evaluated, these differences do not translate into important effects on the dependent variables of interest in the experiments. Thus the bovine tendon graft can be substituted for the human tendon graft in both types of experiments.
Comparison of Viscoelastic, Structural, and Material Properties of Double-Looped Anterior Cruciate Ligament Grafts Made From Bovine Digital Extensor and Human Hamstring Tendons
Contributed by the Bioengineering Division for publication in the JOURNAL OF BIOMECHANICAL ENGINEERING. Manuscript received by the Bioengineering Division Oct. 1999; revised manuscript received Oct. 2000. Associate Editor: L. J. Soslowsky.
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Donahue , T. L. H., Gregersen , C., Hull, M. L., and Howell, S. M. (October 1, 2000). "Comparison of Viscoelastic, Structural, and Material Properties of Double-Looped Anterior Cruciate Ligament Grafts Made From Bovine Digital Extensor and Human Hamstring Tendons ." ASME. J Biomech Eng. April 2001; 123(2): 162–169. https://doi.org/10.1115/1.1351889
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