The Achilles tendon is one of the most commonly observed tendons injured with a variety of causes, such as trauma, overuse and degeneration, in the human body. Rupture and tendinosis are relatively common for this strong tendon. Stress-strain properties and shape change are important biomechanical properties of the tendon to assess surgical repair or healing progress. Currently, there are rather limited non-invasive methods available for precisely quantifying the in vivo biomechanical properties of the tendons. The aim of this study was to apply quantitative ultrasound (QUS) methods, including ultrasonic attenuation and speed of sound (SOS), to investigate porcine tendons in different stress-strain conditions. In order to find a reliable method to evaluate the change of tendon shape, ultrasound measurement was also utilized for measuring tendon thickness and compared with the change in tendon cross-sectional area under different stress. A total of 15 porcine tendons of hind trotters were examined. The test results show that the attenuation and broadband ultrasound attenuation decreased and the SOS increased by a smaller magnitude as the uniaxial loading of the stress-strain upon tendons increased. Furthermore, the tendon thickness measured with the ultrasound method was significantly correlated with tendon cross-sectional area (Pearson coefficient = 0.86). These results also indicate that attenuation of QUS and ultrasonic thickness measurement are reliable and potential parameters for assessing biomechanical properties of tendons. Further investigations are needed to warrant the application of the proposed method in a clinical setting.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Engineering (miscellaneous)
- Applied Mathematics