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2014 Abstracts

MicroScribe 3D digitizing of quadriceps tendon and calcaneal tendon with staining technique

Michael Gillespie, Brigham Young University

Life Sciences

It is vital to understand the anatomical microstructure of tendons and ligaments in order to ascertain their specific qualities and functions. Recent developments in micro-scribe 3D digitization are highly effective in revealing these intricacies. A necessary component to creating 3D fiber maps from this technology is the ability to distinguish between individual tissue fibers with the naked eye. However, this is a very difficult task with most tendons and ligaments. We developed a paste made of blue dye and powdered sugar that when applied, fits in-between these fibers and contrasts the specimen color. This exposes the fine architecture, making individual fibers much more visible and thus able to be 3D digitized. With these 3D fiber maps now available, tendon and ligament microstructure can be viewed in greater detail than previously possible. This technique was applied to human cadaveric calcaneal tendon and quadriceps tendon. It was discovered that the fibers of human calcaneal tendon have higher overlap relative to the rigidly parallel fibers of the quadriceps tendon. This further understanding carries implications regarding the advancement of biomechanical models, artificial reconstruction, and surgical repair of these tissues. It also highlights the need for further investigation into the microstructure differences among tendons and ligaments.