A novel approach to the development of benchmarking parameters for characterizing cartilage health.
Brown CP., Oloyede A., Moody HR., Crawford RW.
This article outlines the motivation and preliminary investigations into a novel method of characterizing cartilage health for potential in vivo application. Current in vivo indentation techniques, which primarily rely on stiffness measurements based on axial data, are unable to adequately distinguish between healthy and degraded tissue. The present in vitro study investigates the effects of controlled artificial degradation on the effective surface stretch, comparing the results with those obtained from the peripheral cartilage surrounding focal osteoarthritis. Results suggest that this technique is highly sensitive, showing a maximum range of 14% effective surface stretch in a normal joint compared with 42% for axial strain measurements. We further demonstrated that the technique can discriminate between degenerative changes and the intrinsic variations in cartilage properties across the normal joint. From these investigations we propose that the relationship between indentation and the in-plane strain field under the indenter can better distinguish degraded tissue than the currently used stiffness techniques.