Comparison of Cartilage Mechanical Properties Measured During Creep and Recovery.
The diagnosis of osteoarthritis (OA) currently depends on the presence of pain and radiographic imaging findings, which generally do not present until later stages of the disease when the condition is difficult to treat. Therefore, earlier detection of OA pathology is needed for improved disease management. Ex vivo cartilage studies indicate that changes in the mechanical function of cartilage occur as degeneration progresses during OA. Thus, measurement of the in vivo cartilage mechanical response may serve as an earlier indicator of OA pathology. Though mechanical characterization is classically performed during loading, the unloading (recovery) response of cartilage may also enable determination of mechanical response. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to validate the use of the recovery response for mechanical characterization of cartilage in a controlled, ex vivo environment. To do so, confined compression creep and recovery tests were conducted on cartilage explants (N = 10), and the resulting mechanical properties from both the creep and recovery phases were compared. No statistically significant differences were found in the mechanical properties between the two phases, reinforcing the hypothesis that unloading (recovery) may be a good surrogate for loading.
Cutcliffe, HC; DeFrate, LE
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