While the low-intensity pulsed ultrasound technique has proved useful for healing of bone fractures, the ultrasound healing mechanism is not yet understood. To understand the initial physical effects of the ultrasound irradiation process on bone, we have studied the anisotropic piezoelectric properties of bone in the MHz range. Bone is known to be composed of collagen and hydroxyapatite (HAp) and shows strong elastic anisotropy. In this study, the effects of HAp on the piezoelectricity were investigated experimentally. To remove the HAp crystallites from the bovine cortical bone, demineralization was performed using ethylene diamine tetra-acetic acid (EDTA) solutions. To investigate the piezoelectricity, we have fabricated ultrasound transducers using the cortical bone or demineralized cortical bone. The induced electrical potentials due to the piezoelectricity were observed as the output of these transducers under pulsed ultrasound irradiation in the MHz range. The cortical bone transducer (before mineralization) showed anisotropic piezoelectric behavior. When the ultrasound irradiation was applied normal to the transducer surface, the observed induced electrical potentials had minimum values. The potential increased under off-axis ultrasound irradiation with changes in polarization. In the demineralized bone transducer case, however, the anisotropic behavior was not observed in the induced electrical potentials. These results therefore indicate that the HAp crystallites affect the piezoelectric characteristics of bone.
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