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COMPARATIVE STUDY
JOURNAL ARTICLE

The changes in mechanical properties of regenerated and residual tissues in the patellar tendon after removal of its central portion

Harukazu Tohyama, Kazunori Yasuda, Yoshiaki Kitamura, Ei Yamamoto, Kozaburo Hayashi
Clinical Biomechanics 2003, 18 (8): 765-72
12957564

OBJECTIVE: To know the temporal changes of the mechanical properties of the regenerated and the residual tissues in the patellar tendon after removal of the central portion.Design. The regenerated and the residual tissues were compared to sham-operated tendons.

BACKGROUND: Although the structural properties of the whole patellar tendon after removal of the central portion have been investigated, no studies have distinguished between the regenerated and the residual tissues.Methods. For 52 skeletally mature rabbits, a full-thick, segmental defect was made at the central portion of the right patellar tendon, while a sham operation performed in the left tendon. At 3, 6, 12, and 24 weeks, we evaluated the mechanical properties and fibroblast density of the regenerated and the residual tissues as well as the blood flow and tissue dimensions of the patellar tendon. In addition, non-treated patellar tendons from six rabbits were served as the control for mechanical testing.

RESULTS: The tangent modulus and the tensile strength of the regenerated tissue progressively increased with time. On the other hand, these parameters of the residual tendinous portion decreased until 6 weeks, although they gradually increased thereafter. The tensile strength of the regenerated and the residual tissues at 24 weeks were approximately 80% and 75%, respectively, of the non-treated, control tendon. Abundant blood flow and cell proliferation were observed in the regenerative tissue until 6 weeks.

CONCLUSION: The mechanical properties of the regenerated and the residual tissues after removal of the central portion in the patellar tendon are much different from those of the original tendon.

RELEVANCE: The present study showed inferior mechanical properties of the residual and the regenerated tissues for up to 24 weeks after removal of the central portion in the patellar tendon. Therefore, the aggressive rehabilitation that applies excessive load to the patellar tendon should be avoided at an early stage after harvesting the tendon for ligament reconstruction.

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