Effect of long-term preservation on the mechanical properties of cortical bone in goats

E.H. van Haaren, B.C. van der Zwaard, A.J. van der Veen, I.C. Heyligers, P.I.J.M. Wuisman, T.H. Smit

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Bones used in mechanical studies are frequently harvested from human cadavers that have been embalmed in a buffered formaldehyde solution. It has been reported that formaldehyde fixation or freezing hardly affects the mechanical properties of bone after a storage period of several weeks. However, human cadaver bones are usually stored for longer periods of time before use. We therefore investigated the effects of long-term embalming or freezing on the mechanical properties of cortical bone. After 5 different storage periods (ranging from 0 to 12 months), goat femora and humeri were used to evaluate the effect of embalming and freezing on torsion, and on bending stiffness and strength. The effect on hardness and bone mineral density (BMD) was also evaluated. Even after 1 year, no statistically significant differences could be found in stiffness, strength, and energy absorption when we compared embalmed or frozen bones to a fresh reference group. In addition, although we found no significant change in BMD, there appears to be a tendency to increasing hardness. We found that there was no effect on the mechanical properties of bone after storage periods of 1 year. We conclude that embalmed or frozen bones can safely be used for mechanical testing, at least for storage periods of up to one year
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Pages (from-to)708-716
JournalActa Orthopaedica
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2008

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