Eight pairs of canine supraspinatus bone‐muscle‐bone units were mechanically tested to failure in tension. One side was tested immediately post mortem, and the other side was tested after exposure to a standard freeze/thaw process (−60°C). The failure site was analyzed histologically. Fresh specimens had greater values for ultimate strength (p < 0.001), stiffness (p < 0.001), and energy to failure (p < 0.001). All specimens failed in the muscle close to the musculotendinous junction. The length of muscles subjected to the freezing process was reduced (9.3%). In addition, the load‐displacement curves for the fresh and frozen specimens showed marked differences in shape. The loss of tensile strength in muscle tissue is due to damage of the intracellular contractile elements caused by postmortem autolysis; this type of damage is increased as a result of the freeze/thaw process. The freeze/thaw process significantly altered the tensile properties of normal muscle tissue, no matter how carefully it was done. One cannot expect to receive representative data if muscle is frozen and thawed.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine