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Leou-Chyr Lin, Thomas P. Hedman, Shyu-Jye Wang, Michael Huoh and Shih-Youeng Chuang

The goal of this study was to develop a nondestructive radial compression technique and to investigate the viscoelastic behavior of the rat tail disc under repeated radial compression. Rat tail intervertebral disc underwent radial compression relaxation testing and creep testing using a custom-made gravitational creep machine. The axisymmetric viscoelasticity and time-dependent recovery were determined. Different levels of hydration (with or without normal saline spray) were supplied to evaluate the effect of changes in viscoelastic properties. Viscoelasticity was found to be axisymmetric in rat-tail intervertebral discs at four equidistant locations. Complete relaxation recovery was found to take 20 min, whereas creep recovery required 25 min. Hydration was required for obtaining viscoelastic axisymmetry and complete viscoelastic recovery.