Extramuscular myofascial force transmission alters substantially the acute effects of surgical aponeurotomy: assessment by finite element modeling
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Effects of extramuscular myofascial force transmission on the acute effects of aponeurotomy were studied using finite element modeling and implications of such effects on surgery were discussed. Aponeurotomized EDL muscle of the rat was modeled in two conditions: (1) fully isolated (2) with intact extramuscular connections. The specific goal was to assess the alterations in muscle length-force characteristics in relation to sarcomere length distributions and to investigate how the mechanical mechanism of the intervention is affected if the muscle is not isolated. Major effects of extramuscular myofascial force transmission were shown on muscle length-force characteristics. In contrast to the identical proximal and distal forces of the aponeurotomized isolated muscle, substantial proximo-distal force differences were shown for aponeurotomized muscle with extramuscular connections (for all muscle lengths F dist > F prox after distal muscle lengthening). Proximal optimal length did not change whereas distal optimal length was lower (by 0.5 mm). The optimal forces of the aponeurotomized muscle with extramuscular connections exerted at both proximal and distal tendons were lower than that of isolated muscle (by 15 and 7%, respectively). The length of the gap separating the two cut ends of the intervened aponeurosis decreases substantially due to extramuscular myofascial force transmission. The amplitude of the difference in gap length was muscle length dependent (maximally 11.6% of the gap length of the extramuscularly connected muscle). Extramuscular myofascial force transmission has substantial effects on distributions of lengths of sarcomeres within the muscle fiber populations distal and proximal to the location of intervention: (a) Within the distal population, the substantial sarcomere shortening at the proximal ends of muscle fibers due to the intervention remained unaffected however, extramuscular myofascial force transmission caused a more pronounced serial distribution towards the distal ends of muscle fibers. (b) In contrast, extramuscular myofascial force transmission limits the serial distribution of sarcomere lengths shown for the aponeurotomized isolated muscle in the proximal population. Fiber stress distributions showed that extramuscular myofascial force transmission causes most sarcomeres within the aponeurotomized muscle to attain lengths favorable for higher force exertion. It is concluded that acute effects of aponeurotomy on muscular mechanics are affected greatly by extramuscular myofascial force transmission. Such effects have important implications for the outcome of surgery performed to improve impeded function since muscle in vivo is not isolated both anatomically and mechanically.