Sensate scaffolds can reliably detect joint loading

C. L. Bliss, John Szivek, B. C. Tellis, D. S. Margolis, A. B. Schnepp, John T Ruth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

9 Scopus citations


Treatment of cartilage defects is essential to the prevention of osteoarthritis. Scaffold-based cartilage tissue engineering shows promise as a viable technique to treat focal defects. Added functionality can be achieved by incorporating strain gauges into scaffolds, thereby providing a real-time diagnostic measurement of joint loading. Strain-gauged scaffolds were placed into the medial femoral condyles of 14 adult canine knees and benchtop tested. Loads between 75 and 130 N were applied to the stifle joints at 30°, 50°, and 70° of flexion. Strain-gauged scaffolds were able to reliably assess joint loading at all applied flexion angles and loads. Pressure sensitive films were used to determine joint surface pressures during loading and to assess the effect of scaffold placement on joint pressures. A comparison of peak pressures in control knees and joints with implanted scaffolds, as well as a comparison of pressures before and after scaffold placement, showed that strain-gauged scaffold implantation did not significantly alter joint pressures. Future studies could possibly use strain-gauged scaffolds to clinically establish normal joint loads and to determine loads that are damaging to both healthy and tissue-engineered cartilage. Strain-gauged scaffolds may significantly aid the development of a functional engineered cartilage tissue substitute as well as provide insight into the native environment of cartilage.



  • Articular cartilage
  • Sensors
  • Tissue engineering

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Biomaterials

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