A durable bond between the end of skeletal muscles and prosthetic structures could, with appropriate linkage, allow circulatory support power by synchronous and/or sequential contraction of several in situ conditioned muscles. Potential advantages relative to a myoplasty wrap involve 1) less traumatic dissection, 2) efficient linear force development, 3) selectable contraction rate, 4) greater stroke work, 5) independent control of muscle pre-load and end diastolic pressure, and 6) independent control of duration of muscle tension and ejection time. However, no existing means of tissue-prosthetic bonding appears adequate. Practicality would demand that full tension bearing capacity by the bond take no longer than muscle conditioning. A prosthesis was developed to achieve those goals. As scaled for this study, it is made of 7,200–7,800 unspun, unplaited, 22 to 26 μ diameter polyester fibers swaged into four taper needles for weaving through distal muscle. The other end is formed into a polyurethane sheathed kernmantel cord for distal fixation. Devices were implanted in six 3 to 4 kg rabbits (unilateral posterior tibial tendon replacement, random side selection with contralateral dissection/closure controls), and their tensile strength was tested at 30 days. All healed well; leg movements were normal after 1 week. Limbs were frozen at −70°C between death and testing. Control failure occurred at 243 ± 94 N and experimental at 163 ± 44 N (p = 0.065, t-test); highest estimated requirement was 17.2 N. Interface strength was adequate by 30 days. Continued investigations, addressing other questions, are warranted.
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