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Intraoperative and biomechanical studies of human vastus lateralis and vastus medialis sarcomere length operating range

Son J, Indresano A, Sheppard K, Ward SR, Lieber RL.
J Biomech, 2018 67:91-97. Epub 2017 Dec 7.

Abstract:

The vast majority of musculoskeletal models are not validated against primary experimental data. Conversely, most human experimental measurements are not explained theoretically using models to provide a mechanistic understanding of experimental results. Here we present a study with both primary human data and primary modeling data. Intraoperative sarcomere length was measured on the human vastus lateralis (VL) and vastus medialis (VM) muscles (n = 8) by laser diffraction. These data were compared to a biomechanical model based on muscle architecture and moment arms obtained independently from cadaveric specimens (n = 9). Measured VL sarcomere length ranged from about 3.2 µm with the knee flexed to 45° to 3.8 µm with the knee flexed to 90°. These values were remarkably close to theoretical predictions. Measured VM sarcomere length ranged from 3.6 µm with the knee flexed to 45° to 4.1 µm with the knee flexed to 90°. These values were dramatically longer than theoretical predictions. Our measured sarcomere length values suggest that human vasti may have differing functions with regard to knee extension and patellar stabilization. This report underscores the importance of validating experimental data to theoretical models and vice versa.

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