View Full Version : ligament area measurement

Tom Mcnally
04-30-1997, 05:43 PM
Hi all

As promise and very delinquent I have prepared a summary of responses to
my original posting. Thanks to all that responded I have he information
I sought.

Here is the original posting.

>Hi all
>Does anyone have any information about an area micrometer for ligamentous
>tissue. I a reference for an article by Ellis, DG, 1969. I wonder if
>anyone has that article or knows of any more recent work that has been
>done in area measurement of soft tissue? Thanks in advance.
>Thomas McNally
>Mechanical Engineering
>University of New Mexico
>Albuquerque, NM

And here is the summary of responses.

1) Dear Tom, A lot of work has been done. Look up the work of Race and
Amis - Journal of Biomechanics. (fairly recent) they have good references.


2) Thomas

Several things have been done since Ellis that are more accurate for
measuring soft tissue area:
Most recent is a technical note by Amis on a casting method using PMMA. It
appeared in J Biomechanics 29(9):1207-1212.
There was also a series of papers by Savio Woo and his students comparing a
laser micrometer measurement system to the area micrometer. These include:
Lee and Woo, J Biomechanical Engineering, 110(2):110-114.
Woo et al., J. Biomechanical Engineering, 112(4):426-431.
A colleague of mine devised a casting method which has not appeared outside
of his thesis yet (hopefully in the next year):
Lanzendorf, EJ., MS Thesis,Mechanical Engineering, MIT, 1988 (1987?).
I have a student working with this data now.
These are all methods for in vitro work.
The second Woo paper is a comparison with the area micrometer and demonstrates
a significant error.
If I can answer any questions, get in touch.


Mike Murphy

3) Check out the 1994 articles by Schectman

Schectman, H and Bader, DL. "Fatigue Characterization of Human Tendons"
Engineering Systems Design and Analysis, 64(4) pp43-48, 1994


Schectman, H and Bader, DL. "Dynamic Characterization of Human Tendons"
Proceedings Institution for Mechanical Engineers, 208 pp241-248, 1994.

These are very similar articles, both describe the area micrometer used and
the clamping system for uniaxial tests.

Good luck,


4) Just saw your posting on biomch-l. Try searching for the work at U of
Pittsburgh's Musculoskeletal Research Center headed by Savio L-Y. Woo.
Another name to search for is Glen Livesay, also of MSRC. They have made
extensive characterization measures of ligament cross-sections and have
frequently published in that area.

Dan B.

5) i use an area micrometer - what kind of info do you want? the tissue
(ligament, tendon) is placed in a slot of known dimension, a plunger is
released which pushes on the soft tissue. the plunger is attached to a
dial gauge which records the height. the product of the height of the plunger
and the width of the slot is the cross-sectional area.

i have seen that Ellis article but i cannot find my copy now. i have the
full citation if you need it.
more recent work:
Lee, Woo, " New Method for Determining Cross-sectional shape and area of
soft tissues", Transactions of the ASME: Journal of Biomechanical
Engineering, vol 110, May 1988, pp110-114. that article also cites many
other works about cross-sectional area and shape. also, there are 2
paragraphs in Smith, Livesay, Woo "Biology and Biomechanics of the
Anterior Cruciate Ligament", Clinics in Sports Medicine, vol 12,number 4, oct 1993, pp637-670; that deal with ways to
measure cross-sectional area, with many citations provided.


Hugh Edward Magen

6) a more recent work using an area micrometer is: Siegler S, Block J, Schneck
CD (1988) "The mechanical characteristics of the collateral ligaments of
the human ankle joint", Foot&Ankle 8(5): 234-242.

Hope this helps. I'd like to receive a summary of the responses you'll get.

Best wishes,

Luca Cristofolini

7) Contact the research group of Dr. Cy Frank (Health Sciences Centre of the
FootHills Hospital,
University of Calgary). They work on ligaments and ligament biomechanics and
may help you in determining
the best way of measuring ligament area.

Best regards
Amine Selmani, Professeur

8) There are several papers on contact and non-contact methods of
cross-sectional area measurement of soft tissue. Sorry I don't have more
exact page numbers, but for recent references see, for example: Lee and
Woo, J Biomech Engng, 1988; Woo et al., J Biomech Engng, 1990; Torzilli and
Arnoczky, J Biomech Engng, 1988; Race and Amis, J Biomech, 1994; Shrive et
al., J Biomech Engng 1988; Iaconis et al. J Biomech 1987.

Rebecca E. Levine, Ph.D.

9) the area micrometer may not be the best method for measuring a ligament
while it is taut.
i place ligaments and tendons from the knee into the area micrometer
while it is not taut and let the plunger push on the tissue. after a
specified length of time, i read the dial gauge. i use 2 minutes and put
enough weight so that .12 MPa is applied to the tissue (as per Ellis, and
as per Noyes,1984)
an area micrometer is such a simple device that you
can construct one on your own. all you need to buy is some metal and a
dial gauge-plunge-type micrometer.
create a plate to rest weights on. the plate should
be connected to a plunger, and be able to move up and down through the
frame. attached to the frame are the dial gauge which is pushed on by the
plate.as the plate moves up and down, it will change the reading on the
micrometer. the plunger slides in a slot attached to the frame. the
tissue lies in the slot and will get compressed by the plunger. the dial
gauge reading should be noted when the slot is empty and the plunger
pushes against the bottom of the slot.
my dial gauge reads in .01mm increments (one full revolution of the pin
is 1mm) this may be a little more accurate. the dial gauge should be
spring return.

if you want, you can send me film or a 8mm videocassette and i can
photograph or videotape my area micrometer for you.

10) Some papers you might want to look at include:

Lee TQ and Woo SL-Y. "A New Method for Determining Cross-Sectional Shape
and Area of Soft Tissues". Journal of Biomechanical Engineering. Vol 110,
pp110-114, 1988.

Woo SL-Y, Danto MI, Ohland KJ, Lee TQ, and Newton PO. "The Use of a Lawer
Micrometer System to Determine the Cross-Sectional Shape and Area of
Ligaments: A Comparative Study with Two Existing Methods," Journal of
Biomechanical Engineering. Vol 112, pp 426-431, 1990.

Shrive NG, Lam TC, Damson E, Frank CB. "A New Method of Measuring the
Cross-Sectional Area of Connection Tissue Structures". Journal of
Biomechanical Engineering. Vol 110, pp 104-109, 1988.

Iaconis F, Steindler R, and Marinozzi G. "Measurements of Cross-Sectional
Area of Collagen Structures (Knee Ligaments) by means of an Optical
Method". Journal of Biomechanics, Vol 20, pp 1003-1010, 1987.

-Serena Chan
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Thanks again to everyone.