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Open AccessArticle

Changes of Material Elastic Properties during Healing of Ruptured Achilles Tendons Measured with Shear Wave Elastography: A Pilot Study

1
Department of Trauma Surgery, University Medical Center Regensburg, Franz-Josef-Strauss-Allee 11, 93053 Regensburg, Germany
2
Experimental Trauma Surgery, Department of Trauma Surgery, University Medical Center Regensburg, Am Biopark 9, 93053 Regensburg, Germany
3
Department of Radiology, University Medical Center Regensburg, Franz-Josef-Strauss-Allee 11, 93053 Regensburg, Germany
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(10), 3427; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21103427
Received: 6 April 2020 / Revised: 8 May 2020 / Accepted: 11 May 2020 / Published: 12 May 2020
Therapy options for ruptured Achilles tendons need to take into account the right balance of timing, amount and intensity of loading to ensure a sufficient biomechanical resilience of the healing tendon on the one hand, and to enable an adequate tensile stimulus on the other hand. However, biomechanical data of human Achilles tendons after rupture during the separate healing stages are unknown. Shear wave elastography is an ultrasound technique that measures material elastic properties non-invasively, and was proven to have a very good correlation to biomechanical studies. Taking advantage of this technology, 12 patients who suffered from an acute Achilles tendon rupture were acquired and monitored through the course of one year after rupture. Nine of these patients were treated non-operatively and were included for the analysis of biomechanical behaviour. A significant increase of material elastic properties was observed within the first six weeks after trauma (up to 80% of baseline value), where it reached a plateau phase. A second significant increase occurred three to six months after injury. This pilot study suggests a time correlation of biomechanical properties with the biological healing phases of tendon tissue. In the reparative phase, a substantial amount of biomechanical resilience is restored already, but the final stage of biomechanical stability is reached in the maturation phase. These findings can potentially be implemented into treatment and aftercare protocols. View Full-Text
Keywords: Achilles tendon healing; Achilles tendon biomechanical properties; shear wave elastography Achilles tendon healing; Achilles tendon biomechanical properties; shear wave elastography
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Frankewycz, B.; Henssler, L.; Weber, J.; Silva, N.P.B.; Koch, M.; Jung, E.M.; Docheva, D.; Alt, V.; Pfeifer, C.G. Changes of Material Elastic Properties during Healing of Ruptured Achilles Tendons Measured with Shear Wave Elastography: A Pilot Study. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21, 3427.

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