A new device and method to measure rabbit knee joint angles are described. The method was used to measure rabbit knee joint angles in normal specimens and in knee joints with obvious contractures. The custom-designed and manufactured gripping device has two clamps. The femoral clamp sits on a pinion gear that is driven by a rack attached to a materials testing system. A 100 N load cell in series with the rack gives force feedback. The tibial clamp is attached to a rotatory potentiometer. The system allows the knee joint multiple degrees-of-freedom (DOF). There are two independent DOF (compression-distraction and internal-external rotation) and two coupled motions (medial-lateral translation coupled with varus-valgus rotation; anterior-posterior translation coupled with flexion-extension rotation). Knee joint extension-flexion motion is measured, which is a combination of the materials testing system displacement (converted to degrees of motion) and the potentiometer values (calibrated to degrees). Internal frictional forces were determined to be at maximum 2% of measured loading. Two separate experiments were performed to evaluate rabbit knees. First, normal right and left pairs of knees from four New Zealand White (NZW) rabbits were subjected to cyclic loading. An extension torque of 0.2 Nm was applied to each knee. The average change in knee joint extension from the first to the fifth cycle was with a total of 49 tests of these eight knees. The maximum extension of the four left knees (tested 23 times) was and of the four right knees (tested 26 times) was There was no significant difference in the maximum extension between normal left and right knees. In the second experiment, nine skeletally mature NZW rabbits had stable fractures of the femoral condyles of the right knee that were immobilized for five, six or 10 weeks. The left knee served as an unoperated control. Loss of knee joint extension (flexion contracture) was demonstrated for the experimental knees using the new methodology where the maximum extension was compared to the unoperated knee maximum extension of 10 or 12 weeks after the immobilization was discontinued. The custom gripping device coupled to a materials testing machine will serve as a measurement test for future studies characterizing a rabbit knee model of post-traumatic joint contractures.
A New Method to Measure Post-Traumatic Joint Contractures in the Rabbit Knee
Contributed by the Bioengineering Division for publication in the JOURNAL OF BIOMECHANICAL ENGINEERING. Manuscript received by the Bioengineering Division December 31, 2002; revision received June 2 2003. Associate Editor: K. Vaughan.
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Hildebrand, K. A., Holmberg, M., and Shrive, N. (January 9, 2004). "A New Method to Measure Post-Traumatic Joint Contractures in the Rabbit Knee ." ASME. J Biomech Eng. December 2003; 125(6): 887–892. https://doi.org/10.1115/1.1634285
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