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Effect of loading direction and anatomical location on the ultimate tensile stress, fracture toughness, and failure patterns of knee meniscus.

Knee 2024 April 5
BACKGROUND: Rupture of the knee menisci is a common injury that can have implications for other conditions, such as osteoarthritis. The fracture toughness of soft tissue (Jc ) is a mechanical property that characterizes its resistance to tear extension. To date, Jc of the meniscus has not been quantified.

METHODS: Cyclic tensile tests were conducted on meniscus samples to determine Jc and explore its characteristics. Initially, the study investigated the impact of an initial notch on the ultimate tensile stress. This allowed for an understanding of how the presence of a notch affects its structural integrity. Subsequently, Jc was measured in both the radial and circumferential directions to assess its loading direction dependency. Furthermore, the study assessed the effect of anatomical location by comparing samples collected from the femoral and tibial layers.

RESULTS: Defect tolerance of the meniscus is influenced by the loading direction. In the circumferential direction, the presence of an initial notch did not affect the ultimate stress, and no crack expansion was observed. In radial samples with a notch length of 40% or more of the total width, crack propagation occurred, leading to a decrease in the ultimate stress (p< 0.01). Additionally, Jc was found to be higher in the femoral layer compared to the tibial layer (p= 0.017).

CONCLUSION: The study also examined the failure patterns of the meniscus to enhance our understanding of its pathology. These insights contribute to a better comprehension of meniscus injuries and can aid in the development of more effective treatment strategies.

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