IMPACT EXPERIMENTS IN ORTHOPAEDIC BIOMECHANICS

  • Guan-Liang Chang
  • Ruey-Mo Lin
  • Chung-Li Wang
Keywords: impact, biomechanics, vertebras, achilles tendons, calcanens, fracture

Abstract

A better understanding of the fracture mechanism, kinematics of the anatomic structure and tissue tolerances can improve clinical prognosis and design of anthropomorphic test devices. An impact apparatus was designed to do experiments in vitro in the areas of orthopaedic biomechanics, either in hard tissue or soft tissue. METHODS: The specimens were subjected to high-speed trauma produced by an impact apparatus. This testing setup is a falling weight system which can do axial and eccentric impacts for different objectives of the orthopaedic studies. A special design was installed to assure only one impact on the specimen for biomechanical analysis. A high-speed camera was placed in front of the specimen to record the trauma event. In this study, the specimens included porcine vertebras, rabbit achilles tendons and human leg cadavers. Observations were also made to get more details by X-ray and/or by CT scan. RESULTS: Spinal fractures similar to those found clinically were successfully produced in porcine spines by impact testing. The deformations of the discs and the kinematical stability of the spinal experimental segments were also found. For the experiment on the achilles tendon, the high speed traction mechanism could produce strain injury to the specimen and get the immediate tensile force in the traction process. For the study on internal fixation for calcaneal fractures, clinically-relevant fractures under high speed impact were produced. The specimens with both longitudinal and transverse primary fracture lines were selected for simulated open reduction and internal fixation. All mechanical failures of the reconstructed calcanens occurred through the transverse primary fracture line. CONCLUSION: Impact experiment is a useful method to do fundamental research in orthopaedic biomechanics. The results in the animal model offer useful insight into bone fractures in human. The repeatability and reproducibility of animal tests offer a great opportunity to evaluate spinal fracture mechanics. The test on the achilles tendon injury was just a pilot study, and a well-designed protocol is needed to improve the results. The study on calcaneal fractures resulted in adding a longitudinal. Transfixing screw is recommended to enhance the strength of internal fixation in the presence of a transverse primary fracture line. From the above three studies, it was concluded that the impact method is an excellent experiment to produce tissue failure and/or fractures for further orthopaedic research.