Annals of Biomedical Engineering

, Volume 47, Issue 1, pp 213–222 | Cite as

Near Infrared Spectroscopic Evaluation of Ligament and Tendon Biomechanical Properties

  • Jari TorniainenEmail author
  • Aapo Ristaniemi
  • Jaakko K. Sarin
  • Santtu Mikkonen
  • Isaac O. Afara
  • Lauri Stenroth
  • Rami K. Korhonen
  • Juha Töyräs


Knee ligaments and tendons are collagen-rich viscoelastic connective tissues that provide vital mechanical stabilization and support to the knee joint. Deterioration of ligaments has an adverse effect on the health of the knee and can eventually lead to ligament rupture and osteoarthritis. In this study, the feasibility of near infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) was, for the first time, tested for evaluation of ligament and tendon mechanical properties by performing measurements on bovine stifle joint ligament (N = 40) and patellar tendon (N = 10) samples. The mechanical properties of the samples were determined using a uniaxial tensile testing protocol. Partial least squares regression models were then developed to determine if morphological, viscoelastic, and quasi-static properties of the samples could be predicted from the NIR spectra. Best performance of NIRS in predicting mechanical properties was observed for toughness at yield point (median \(Q^{2}_{\rm{CV}}=0.54\), median normalized \(RMSE_{\rm{CV}}=6.1\%\)), toughness at failure point (median \(Q^{2}_{\rm{CV}}=0.53\), median normalized \(RMSE_{\rm{CV}}=6.6\%\)), and the ultimate strength of the ligament/tendon (median \(Q^{2}_{\rm{CV}}=0.52\), median normalized \(RMSE_{\rm{CV}}=8.3\%\)). Thus, we show that NIRS is capable of estimating ligament and tendon biomechanical properties, especially in parameters related to tissue failure. We believe this method could substantially enhance the currently limited arthroscopic evaluation of ligaments and tendons.


Near infrared spectroscopy Knee ligaments Arthroscopy 



This work was supported in part by Academy of Finland (Grants 286526 and 267551), Doctoral Programme in Science, Technology and Computing (SCITECO) of University of Eastern Finland, and the Research Committee of the Kuopio University Hospital Catchment Area for the State Research Funding (Projects 5203111, 5041744, 5041750 and 5654156), Kuopio, Finland. S. Mikkonen would also like to acknowledge funding from The Nessling Foundation.

Conflict of interest

The authors have no conflicts of interest regarding the study or preparation of the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Biomedical Engineering Society 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Applied PhysicsUniversity of Eastern FinlandKuopioFinland
  2. 2.Diagnostic Imaging CenterKuopio University HospitalKuopioFinland

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