Mechanical property studies of human gallstones.
The recent development of gallstone fragmentation methods has increased the significance of the study of the mechanical properties of human gallstones. In the present work, fracture strength data and microhardness values of gallstones of various chemical compositions are presented as tested in both dry and simulated bile environments. Generally, both gallstone hardness and fracture strength values were significantly less than kidney stone values found in previous studies. However, a single calcium carbonate stone was found to have an outer shell hardness exceeding those values found for kidney stones. Diametral compression measurements in simulated bile conclusively demonstrated low gallstone fracture strength as well as brittle fracture in the stones tested. Based on the results of this study, one may conclude that the wide range of gallstone microhardnesses found may explain the reported difficulties previous investigators have experienced using various fragmentation techniques on specific gallstones. Moreover, gallstone mechanical properties may be relatively sensitive to bile-environment composition.
Stranne, SK; Cocks, FH; Gettliffe, R
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