In-vitro controlled mechanical testing of tendons from living donors

  • Ollivier Matthieu
  • Sbihi Jaafar
  • Sbihi A.
  • Pithioux Martine
  • Parratte Sebastien
  • Argenson Jean-Noël

  • Mechanical testing
  • Hamstring tendons
  • Mechanical properties
  • Ropivacaine

ART

Objective: Intraarticular or periarticular injection of ropivacaine (RI) is an element of current knee surgery practices. The goal of this study was to determine the effects of RI on the mechanical properties of hamstring tendons. We hypothesized that RI would have a detrimental effect on the mechanical properties of periarticular soft tissues Methods: A tensile test to failure was performed on 120 hamstring tendon segments harvested during ACL reconstruction surgery in 120 patients. Two sets of tensile tests were done. The first evaluated the effect of RI itself on the mechanical properties of tendons: 30 samples were soaked for 1 hour in a 2% RI solution and compared to 30 samples soaked in a saline solution (control group). The second evaluated the effect of RI concentration on the mechanical properties of hamstring tendons: 30 samples were soaked for 1 hour in a 2% RI solution and 30 samples were soaked in a 7.5% RI solution. Results: In the first test, 29 samples from each group were analyzed as two samples (one in each group) failed at the grip interface. The specimens exposed to 2% RI had lower ultimate tensile strength (= 4.4 MPa, P = 0.001), strain energy (= 13 MPa, P = 0.001) and Young's modulus (= 1.6 MPa, P = 0.02) than the specimens in the control group. There was no significant difference in the strain at failure between groups (= 5%, P = 0.3). In the second test, one specimen from the 7.5% RI group failed during the preloading and was excluded. There was no significant difference in terms of the load at failure and ultimate tensile stress (= 0.45 MPa, P = 0.6) and strain energy (= 0.49 MPa, P = 0.49) between the two groups. There were significant differences in terms of elongation at failure (= 28%, P = 0.0003) and Young's modulus (= 2.6 MPa, P = 0.005), with the specimens exposed to 7.5% RI undergoing greater deformation and having a lower Young's modulus. Discussion: While local RI injections are widely performed in clinical practice, the results of this in vitro study point to short-term alterations of the mechanical properties of hamstring tendons. If these results hold in vivo, this could lead to weakness of the soft tissues exposed to this product, particularly the tendons and ligaments around the injection area. Level of evidence: Experimental study. Level 1