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01 Apr 2011 - 30 Sep 2014 Technology

Development of reinforcement structures for ligament tissues with PCL/PLA/PBG biodegradable fibers

Braided structure for the reinforcement of anterior cruciate ligaments, through the use of biodegradable fibrous materials.

It is estimated that annually more than 200,000 injuries on crossed anterior ligaments occur worldwide, and more than 95,000 of those are ligament ruptures. The highest incidence of this problem occurs with females practicing risk sports, including basketball, football and skiing. The knee joints are easily injured because they are responsible for supporting the entire body weight and gravity forces. These joints favor the movement between the femur and tibia giving greater mobility and stability to the body.
The knee ligaments are subjected to numerous efforts during sports and its injury has been identified as one of the problems in modern society. This type of injury often finds eco in the news media, as it commonly occurs with renowned sportsmen. The major problem associated with this kind of lesions is the long period of rehabilitation. Most knee injuries happen due to lack of preventive measures. The muscles and ligaments control all the dynamic elements of the knees.

Innovation
One of the research lines that have been subject of several studies in recent years is the use of braided fibrous materials due to their possibility of creating structures whose mechanical behaviour can be designed to make it similar to the natural ligaments. In addition, the flexibility of this technology offers the possibility of combining fibres with different properties, including the use of biodegradable materials.

Results
Fibrenamics - University of Minho, in partnership with the Institute of Mechanical Engineering and Industrial Management (INEGI / UP), the Polymer Competence Network Association (ARCP) and the University of Aveiro (UA) has developed a braided structure for the reinforcement of anterior cruciate ligaments, through the use of biodegradable fibrous materials.
The research group has carried out an intensive study in this area, where the mechanical performance of braided structures, the biocompatibility and biodegradability of fibrous materials was evaluated, taking into account the performance of the natural ligament.
Therefore, this investigation aimed to study a fibrous anterior cruciate ligament artificial model of the knee with mechanical characteristics similar to those existing in the human body, mimicking the properties inherent to the natural ligaments.

Datasheet
The project “Development of reinforcement structures for ligament tissues with PCL/PLA/PBG biodegradable fibers” (FCT Project – PTDC / EME // 122347/2010), was developed by the University of Minho (Portugal) and received funding from the Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT), Portugal.

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