The equilibrium depth-dependent biomechanical properties of articular cartilage were measured using an ultrasound-compression method. Ten cylindrical bovine patella cartilage-bone specimens were tested in compression followed by a period of force-relaxation. A 50 MHz focused ultrasound beam was transmitted into the cartilage specimen through a remaining bone layer and a small hole at the centre of a specimen platform. The ultrasound echoes reflected or scattered within the articular cartilage were collected using the same transducer. The displacements of the tissues at different depths of the articular cartilage were derived from the ultrasound echo signals recorded during the compression and the subsequent force-relaxation. For two steps of 0.1 mm compression, the average strain at the superficial 0.2 mm thick layer (0.35 ± 0.09) was significantly (p < 0.05) larger than that at the subsequent 0.2 mm thick layer (0.05 ± 0.07) and that at deeper layers (0.01 ± 0.02). It was demonstrated that the compressive biomechanical properties of cartilage were highly depth-dependent. The results suggested that the ultrasound-compression method could be a useful tool for the study of the depth-dependent biomechanical properties of articular cartilage.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging