Bone and Joint Institute

Insertion of Small Diameter Radiopaque Tracking Beads into the Anterior Cruciate Ligament Results in Repeatable Strain Measurement Without Affecting the Material Properties

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Annals of Biomedical Engineering





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© 2020, Biomedical Engineering Society. The characterization of ligamentous soft tissue properties is limited by a lack of measurement methods capable of minimally-invasively quantifying regional strain. Previous implementations of radiographic imaging and tissue-embedded radiopaque markers demonstrated promising regional strain measurements, but found error associated with non-repeatable bead positions within the tissue after load application. No study has investigated the effects of cyclic loading on the strains measured within the tissue. The purpose of this study was to quantify the effect of joint loading on strain measurement using radiopaque markers and micro-computed tomography imaging. Six cadaveric porcine femur-anterior cruciate ligament-tibia complexes were instrumented with small diameter (0.8 mm) zirconium dioxide marker beads. The compound was imaged at 10 N then at 100 N of anterior force using micro-computed tomography. The bead positions in the images were used to calculate tissue strain between the 10 and 100 N anterior joint load conditions. Up to 100 intermediate joint cycles were applied, then images were acquired again at 10 and 100 N anterior force. No statistically significant difference was found between the strains measured before and after intermediate cycling (p > 0.05). This indicates that tissue loading did not introduce statistically significant changes to strains measured in tissue tested following this methodology.

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