The influence of avascularity on the mechanical properties of human bone-patellar-tendon-bone grafts

S. Rupp*, R. Seil, D. Kohn, B. Muller

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Our aim was to analyse the effect of avascularity on the morphology and mechanical properties (tensile strength, viscoelasticity) of human bone-patellar-tendon-bone (BPTB) grafts in vitro. These were harvested at postmortem and stored submerged in denaturated human plasma at a constant pH, pO2, pCO2, temperature and humidity under sterile conditions. Mechanical testing was performed two and four weeks after removal of the graft. The mean ultimate strength was 1085.7 ± 255.8 N (control), 1009.0 ± 314.9 N (two weeks cultured) and 1076.8 ± 414.8 N (four weeks cultured). There was no significant difference in linear stiffness or deformation to failure between the groups. There was a difference in viscoelasticity between the control group and the avascular grafts and the latter had significant lower peak load-to-load ratios after 15 minutes compared with the control group. After two and four weeks the graft contained viable fibroblasts. There was regular cellularity in the superficial layers and decreased cellularity in the midportion. The structure of the collagen including the crimp pattern appeared to be normal in polarised light. We conclude that avascularity does not significantly affect ultimate failure loads or stiffness of BPTB grafts. Slight changes in viscoelasticity were induced, but the significance of the increased stress relaxation is not fully understood.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1059-1064
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Bone and Joint Surgery - Series B
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2000
Externally publishedYes


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