Tensile and Torsional Structural Properties of the Native Scapholunate Ligament. The Journal of hand surgery Pang, E. Q., Douglass, N., Behn, A., Winterton, M., Rainbow, M. J., Kamal, R. N. 2018


PURPOSE: The ideal material for reconstruction of the scapholunate interosseous ligament (SLIL) should replicate the mechanical properties of the native SLIL to recreate normal kinematics and prevent posttraumatic arthritis. The purpose of our study was to evaluate the cyclic torsional and tensile properties of the native SLIL and load to failure tensile properties of the dorsal SLIL.METHODS: The SLIL bone complex was resected from 10 fresh-frozen cadavers. The scaphoid and lunate were secured in polymethylmethacrylate and mounted on a test machine that incorporated an x-y stage and universal joint, which permitted translations perpendicular to the rotation/pull axis as well as nonaxial angulations. After a 1 N preload, specimens underwent cyclic torsional testing (±0.45 N m flexion/extension at 0.5 Hz) and tensile testing (1-50 N at 1 Hz) for 500 cycles. Lastly, the dorsal 10 mm of the SLIL was isolated and displaced at 10 mm/min until failure.RESULTS: During intact SLIL cyclic torsional testing, the neutral zone was 29.7° ± 6.6° and the range of rotation 46.6° ± 7.1°. Stiffness in flexion and extension were 0.11 ± 0.02 and 0.12 ± 0.02 N m/deg, respectively. During cyclic tensile testing, the engagement length was 0.2 ± 0.1 mm, the mean stiffness was 276 ± 67 N/mm, and the range of displacement was 0.4 ± 0.1 mm. The dorsal SLIL displayed a 0.3 ± 0.2 mm engagement length, 240 ± 65 N/mm stiffness, peak load of 270 ± 91 N, and displacement at peak load of 1.8 ± 0.3 mm.CONCLUSIONS: We report the torsional properties of the SLIL. Our novel test setup allows for free rotation and translation, which reduces out-of-plane force application. This may explain our observation of greater dorsal SLIL load to failure than previous reports.CLINICAL RELEVANCE: By matching the natural ligament with respect to its tensile and torsional properties, we believe that reconstructions will better restore the natural kinematics of the wrist and lead to improved outcomes. Future clinical studies should aim to investigate this further.

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