Skeletal muscle damage during tourniquet-induced ischaemia

The initial step towards atrophy after orthopaedic surgery?
  • H.-J. Appell
  • S. Glöser
  • J. A. R. Duarte
  • A. Zellner
  • J. M. C. Soares


Muscle biopsies from the vastus lateralis muscle of patients who had undergone anterior cruciate ligament surgery under conditions of tourniquet-induced ischaemia were examined under the electron microscope at different periods of time up to 90 min of ischaemia. The severity of the alterations in ultrastructure appeared to depend on the period of ischaemia. The pathological changes consisted of accumulation of lysosomes, persistent intrafibre oedema, and some extracellular oedema. Signs of fibre necrosis were found after 90 min of ischaemia. Capillary ultrastructure was only altered with regard to some swelling of the endothelium and marked thickening of the basement membrane. It was concluded that skeletal muscle could be severely affected even during relatively short periods of ischaemia, which might facilitate the development of muscle atrophy during immobilization after orthopaedic surgery.

Key words

Tourniquet Ischaemia Skeletal muscle Damage Lysosomes Oedema Capillaries Ultrastructure 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • H.-J. Appell
    • 1
  • S. Glöser
    • 1
  • J. A. R. Duarte
    • 2
  • A. Zellner
    • 3
  • J. M. C. Soares
    • 2
  1. 1.Institute for Experimental MorphologyGerman Sport UniversityCologneGermany
  2. 2.Department of Sports Biology, Faculty of Sport ScienceUniversity of PortoPortugal
  3. 3.Orthopaedic Clinic “Oskar-Helene-Heim”Free UniversityBerlinGermany

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