Malignant esophageal pathology typically requires resection of the esophagus and reconstruction to restore foregut continuity. Reconstruction options are limited and morbid. The esophagus represents a useful target for tissue engineering strategies based on relative simplicity in comparison to other organs. The ideal tissue engineered conduit would have sufficient and ideally matched mechanical tolerances to native esophageal tissue. Current methods for mechanical testing of esophageal tissues both in vivo and ex vivo are typically destructive, alter tissue conformation, ignore anisotropy, or are not able to be performed in fluid media. The aim of this study was to investigate biomechanical properties of swine esophageal tissues through nondestructive testing utilizing sonometry ex vivo. This method allows for biomechanical determination of tissue properties, particularly longitudinal and circumferential moduli and strain energy functions. The relative contribution of mucosal-submucosal layers and muscular layers are compared to composite esophagi. Swine thoracic esophageal tissues (n = 15) were tested by pressure loading using a continuous pressure pump system to generate stress. Preconditioning of tissue was performed by pressure loading with the pump system and pre-straining the tissue to in vivo length before data was recorded. Sonometry using piezocrystals was utilized to determine longitudinal and circumferential strain on five composite esophagi. Similarly, five mucosa-submucosal and five muscular layers from thoracic esophagi were tested independently. This work on esophageal tissues is consistent with reported uniaxial and biaxial mechanical testing and reported results using strain energy theory and also provides high resolution displacements, preserves native architectural structure and allows assessment of biomechanical properties in fluid media. This method may be of use to characterize mechanical properties of tissue engineered esophageal constructs.
- biaxial, mechanical testing
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging