Accurate and flexible measurements of length, area, and volume are important in evaluation of the mechanical properties of soft tissue. Although a number of contact-based and non-contact techniques have been reported in the literature, due to a variety of reasons such as cost, complexity, and low accuracy, the research community has not adopted a standardized technique. In this paper, an alternative method of measuring the geometric parameters of cadaver anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is presented. In this method, a 3-D scan of the ACL is constructed using a simple, commercially available, scanning system. The 3-D scan is then analyzed using the 3-D Doctor Software to extract important information regarding the length, cross-sectional area, and volume of the ACL. The accuracy and repeatability of measurements obtained by this method are acceptable and comparable to existing non-contact methods. The limitation of the method is that surface concavities cannot be detected. However, the non-contact optical method, described here, has inherent advantages over the existing methods: (1) it is inexpensive; (2) it allows the determination of area at any distance along the length of the tissue of interest; (3) all relevant information including minimum area is extracted from one single application of the method; (4) the volume can be calculated with a simple additional step of length measurement although, for accurate results, condylar blockage must be minimized by coring the ACL out. The entire process of scanning takes less than 30 min. This technique has the potential to become a standard method in anthropometry of soft tissue.
Keywords: Cross-sectional area; Non-contact measurement; 3-D scanning; Anthropometry; Image reconstruction