The compressive mechanical properties of untreated and chemically and physically treated nasal septum homografts were determined. Mechanical properties of control, saline-, thimerosal (Merthiolate)- and Alcide-treated specimens were similar. At high strains, the stiffness of treated cartilage ranged from 12.8 to 22.5 MPa and was unaffected by storage time. In comparison, irradiated and freeze-dried nasal septum exhibited stiffnesses of 35 and 37.5 MPa, respectively, after approximately 1 month of storage. These values of stiffness were significantly different from controls at a 0.95 confidence level. On the basis of these results, it was concluded that Alcide and Merthiolate treatment did not alter the compressive mechanical properties of cartilage and that a combination of these treatments may adequately sterilize and preserve nasal septum homografts.
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