A New Method of Measuring the Cross-Sectional Area of Connective Tissue Structures

[+] Author and Article Information
N. G. Shrive, T. C. Lam, E. Damson

Department of Civil Engineering, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

C. B. Frank

Division of Orthopaedic Surgery, Department of Surgery, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

J Biomech Eng 110(2), 104-109 (May 01, 1988) (6 pages) doi:10.1115/1.3108413 History: Received July 06, 1987; Revised February 29, 1988; Online June 12, 2009


There appears to be no generally accepted method of measuring in-situ the cross-sectional area of connective tissues, particularly small ones, before mechanical testing. An instrument has therefore been devised to measure the cross-sectional area of one such tissue, the rabbit medial collateral ligament, directly and nondestructively. However, the methodology is general and could be applied to other tissues with appropriate changes in detail. The concept employed in the instrument is to measure the thickness of the tissue as a function of position along the width of the tissue. The plot obtained of thickness versus width position is integrated to provide the cross-sectional area. This area is accurate to within 5 percent, depending mainly on alignment of the instrument and pre-load of the ligament. Results on the mid-substance of the rabbit medial collateral ligaments are repeatable and reproducible. Values of maximum width and thickness are less variable than those obtained with a vernier caliper. The measured area is considerably less than that estimated assuming rectangular cross-section and slightly less than that estimated on the assumption of elliptical cross-section.

Copyright © 1988 by ASME
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