Background: Clinical evidence has suggested that the rate of fracture in allografts sterilized with gamma radiation may be higher than that in controls. Gamma radiation sterilization has been shown to affect the post-yield properties of bone but not the elastic modulus. Since most allograft fractures occur with sulocritical loads during activities of daily living, it may be that the fatigue properties of irradiated allografts are diminished. In this study, the fatigue crack propagation behavior of cortical bone sterilized with gamma radiation was compared with that of gender and age-matched controls. We hypothesized that gamma radiation significantly reduces the resistance of cortical bone to fatigue crack growth.