This research has established, through ultrasound, near infrared spectroscopy and biomechanics experiments, parameters and parametric relationships that can form the framework for quantifying the integrity of the articular cartilage-on-bone laminate, and objectively distinguish between normal/healthy and abnormal/degenerated joint tissue, with a focus on articular cartilage. This has been achieved by: 1. using traditional experimental methods to produce new parameters for cartilage assessment; 2. using novel methodologies to develop new parameters; and 3. investigating the interrelationships between mechanical, structural and molec- ular properties to identify and select those parameters and methodologies that can be used in a future arthroscopic probe based on points 1 and 2. By combining the molecular, micro- and macro-structural characteristics of the tissue with its mechanical properties, we arrive at a set of critical benchmarking parameters for viable and early-stage non-viable cartilage. The interrelationships between these characteristics, examined using a multivariate analysis based on principal components analysis, multiple linear regression and general linear modeling, could then to deter- mine those parameters and relationships which have the potential to be developed into a future clinical device. Specifically, this research has found that the ultrasound and near infrared techniques can subsume the mechanical parameters and combine to characterise the tissue at the molecular, structural and mechanical levels over the full depth of the cartilage matrix. It is the opinion in this thesis that by enabling the determination of the precise area of in\ud uence of a focal defect or disease in the joint, demarcating the boundaries of articular cartilage with dierent levels of degeneration around a focal defect, better surgical decisions that will advance the processes of joint management and treatment will be achieved. Providing the basis for a surgical tool, this research will contribute to the enhancement and quanti�cation of arthroscopic procedures, extending to post- treatment monitoring and as a research tool, will enable a robust method for evaluating developing (particularly focalised) treatments
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