Long-term morphology of a healing bone?tendon interface: a histological observation in the sheep model Academic Article uri icon


  • The purpose of this study was to examine and describe the sequence of events involved in long-term biological reconstruction of a tendon-bone interface following surgical reattachment. Patellar tendon re-attachment in the adult sheep was used to investigate and describe the biological components involved in healing and repair of a tendon enthesis. Light microscopy was used to describe the healing morphology at time intervals of 8, 12, 26, 52 and 104 weeks. By 8 weeks a collagen continuum was observed between the tendon and bone. Over time this fibrous bridge became anchored into the original tissues (tendon and bone), with the resultant enthesis resembling more a fibrous rather than the original fibrocartilagenous enthesis. The associated collagen fibrils between the two tissues gradually changed in morphology over time to reflect the fibres seen in the original tendon tissue. The fibrous tissue of the forming enthesis remained hypercellular when compared with the controls. The resultant long-term morphology may be a reflection of functional adaptation rather than anatomical replication.

publication date

  • March 2007