Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Master of Engineering Science


Biomedical Engineering

Collaborative Specialization

Musculoskeletal Health Research


Burkhart, Timothy A.

2nd Supervisor

Holdsworth, David W.

Joint Supervisor

3rd Supervisor

Getgood, Alan M.

Joint Supervisor


Although anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstruction is a highly developed surgical procedure, sub-optimal treatment outcomes persist. This can be partially attributed to an incomplete understanding of knee joint kinematics and regional tissue mechanic properties. A system for minimally-invasive investigation of knee joint kinematics and tissue mechanics under clinically relevant joint loads was developed to address this gap in understanding. A five degree-of-freedom knee joint motion simulator capable of dynamically loading intact human cadaveric knee joints to within 1% of user defined multi-axial target loads was developed. This simulator was uniquely designed to apply joint loads to a joint centered within the field of view of a micro-CT scanner. The use of micro-CT imaging and tissue-embedded radiopaque beads demonstrated high-resolution strain measurement, distinguishing differences in inter-bead distances as low as 0.007 mm. Inter-bead strain measurement was highly accurate and repeatable, with no significant error introduced from cyclic joint loading. Finally, regional strain was repeatably measured using radiopaque markers in four intact, human cadaveric knees to within 0.003 strain in response to multi-directional joint loads. This novel combination of dynamic knee joint motion simulation, tissue-embedded radiopaque markers, and micro-CT imaging provides the opportunity to increase our understanding of the kinematics and tissue mechanics of the knee, with the potential to improve ACL reconstruction outcomes.