Calibration and Application of an Intra-articular Force Transducer for the Measurement of Patellar Tendon Graft Forces: An in Situ Evaluation

[+] Author and Article Information
B. C. Fleming, G. D. Peura, B. D. Beynnon

McClure Musculoskeletal Research Center, Department of Orthopædics and Rehabilitation, University of Vermont, Burlington, VT 05405

L. Good

Sports Trauma Research Group, Department of Orthopædics, University Hospital, Linköping, Sweden

J Biomech Eng 121(4), 393-398 (Aug 01, 1999) (6 pages) doi:10.1115/1.2798336 History: Received January 28, 1997; Revised February 24, 1999; Online October 30, 2007


The objective of this study was to evaluate two calibration methods for the “Arthroscopically Implantable Force Probe” (AIFP) that are potentially suitable for in vivo use: (1) a direct, experimentally based method performed by applying a tensile load directly to the graft after it is harvested but prior to implantation (the “pre-implantation” technique), and (2) an indirect method that utilizes cadaver-based analytical expressions to transform the AIFP output versus anterior shear load relationship, which may be established in vivo, to resultant graft load (the “post-implantation” technique). The AIFP outputs during anterior shear loading of the knee joint using these two calibration methods were compared directly to graft force measurements using a ligament cutting protocol and a 6 DOF load cell. The mean percent error ((actual – measured)/(actual) * 100) associated with the pre-implantation calibration ranged between 85 and 175 percent, and was dependent on the knee flexion angle tested. The percent error associated with the post-implantation technique was evaluated in two load ranges: loads less than 40 N, and loads greater than 40 N. For graft force values greater than 40 N, the mean percent errors inherent to the post-implantation calibration method ranged between 20 and 29 percent, depending on the knee flexion angle tested. Below 40 N, these errors were substantially greater. Of the two calibration methods evaluated, the post-implantation approach provided a better estimate of the ACL graft force than the pre-implantation technique. However, the errors for the post-implantation approach were still high and suggested that caution should be employed when using implantable force probes for in vivo measurement of ACL graft forces.

Copyright © 1999 by The American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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