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Effects of stress deprivation on mechanical properties of the in situ frozen-thawed semitendinosus tendon in rabbits

Clinical Biomechanics
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1016/s0268-0033(02)00148-1
  • Semitendinosus Tendon
  • Tendon Autograft
  • Material Properties
  • Fibroblast Necrosis
  • Mechanical Environment
  • Stress Shielding
  • Biology
  • Medicine


Abstract Objective. To clarify the effect of complete stress deprivation on the mechanical properties of the in situ frozen-thawed semitendinosus tendon, an idealized autograft model. Design. Ninety-six rabbits were divided into three groups. In the frozen group ( n=36), we applied the freeze-thaw treatment to the semitendinosus tendon to necrotize fibroblasts in the tendon. In the frozen and stress-shielded group ( n=30), after we applied the same freeze-thaw treatment to the tendon, we completely released the tendon from stress. In the sham group ( n=30), a sham operation was applied. In each group, 6 rabbits were sacrificed at 0 (only in the frozen group), 1, 2, 3, 6 and 12 weeks after surgery. Background. Previous studies have not clarified remodeling of the semitendinosus autograft in ligament reconstruction or its idealized model. Method. The tendon was frozen with liquid nitrogen. The tendon was released from stress with the originally developed technique using a polyester tape. In each period, 5 out of the 6 rabbits were evaluated with tensile testing, and the remaining rabbit was histologically observed. Result. Complete stress shielding significantly increased the cross-sectional area of the frozen-thawed tendon at 1 and 2 weeks, while it significantly inhibited the increase of the area due to the freeze-thaw treatment at 3 and 6 weeks. Complete stress shielding significantly reduced material properties of the frozen-thawed tendon after 2 weeks. Conclusion. The frozen-thawed semitendinosus tendon has unique remodeling characteristics under a stress-shielded condition, which were not the same as those of the frozen-thawed patellar tendon. Relevance Remodeling of the semitendinosus tendon autograft under stress-shielded conditions may be different from that of the patellar tendon autograft.

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