Elastic properties of Thiel-embalmed human ankle tendon and ligament

Xiaochun Liao, Sandy Kemp, George Corner, Roos Eisma, Zhihong Huang (Lead / Corresponding author)

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    39 Citations (Scopus)


    Thiel embalming is recommended as an alternative to formalin-based embalming because it preserves tissue elasticity, color, and flexibility in the long term, with low infection and toxicity risk. The degree to which Thiel embalming preserves elasticity has so far been assessed mainly by subjective scoring, with little quantitative verification. The aim of this study is to quantify the effect of Thiel embalming on the elastic properties of human ankle tendons and ligament. Biomechanical tensile tests were carried out on six Thiel-embalmed samples each of the peroneus longus, peroneus brevis, and calcaneal tendons, and the calcaneofibular ligament, with strain rates of 0.25%s-1 , 2%s-1 , and 8%s-1 . The stress-strain relationship was calculated from the force-extension response with cross-sectional area and gauge length. Young's modulus was determined from the stress-strain curve. The results showed that the tendon and ligament elasticity were lower after Thiel embalming than the literature values for fresh nonembalmed tendons and ligament. The biomechanical tensile test showed that the measured elasticity of Thiel-embalmed tendons and ligaments increased with the strain rate. The Thiel embalming method is useful for preserving human ankle tendons and ligaments for anatomy and surgery teaching and research, but users need to be aware of its softening effects. The method retains the mechanical strain rate effect on tendons and ligament.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)917-924
    Number of pages8
    JournalClinical Anatomy
    Issue number7
    Early online date23 Feb 2015
    Publication statusPublished - Oct 2015


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