Description and application of instrumented staples for measuring in vivo bone strain

Glenn R. Buttermann, John T. Janevic, Jack L Lewis, Conrad M. Lindquist, Kirkham B. Wood, Michael J. Schendel

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15 Scopus citations


In vivo bone strain measurements using strain gages cemented to bony surfaces with cyanoacrylate polymers are limited in duration due to debonding of the gages from bone. As an alternative to the bone bonded strain gages, a technique was developed in which strain gages were first bonded to miniature staples and then the staples embedded into bone. The instrumented staples may be calibrated so that staple strain is directly proportional to bone strain. The method was first validated by comparing the staple output with cemented surface strain gages. Comparison of instrumented staples to cemented strain gages revealed only a 3% deviation from linearity during longitudinal bending; the staples were insensitive to transverse loading. The instrumented staples were then applied to the in vitro canine lumbar spine to determine L2-3 facet loads. Load testing, repeatibility of facet calibration, and validity testing of the in vitro instrumented staples were found to be comparable to that of the previous cemented strain gage techniques. In vivo facet joint application of the instrumented staples for periods of greater than 5 weeks gave load measurements comparable to our previous short-term in vivo studies obtained with cemented strain gages. The advantages of the instrumented staples are a more secure bonding to the bone, and less traumatic surgery for fixation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1087-1094
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Biomechanics
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1994

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgements-Thisw ork was supported by NIH grantsA R39255a nd AR07555a, nd OREF/Bristol-Myers-Squibb/ZimmerI nstitutionalG rant. The authors are in-debtedt o Toni A. Meglitscha nd RandellJ . Carpenterf or their technicaal ssistance.


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