A Global Relationship Between Trabecular Bone Morphology and Homogenized Elastic Properties

[+] Author and Article Information
P. K. Zysset, R. W. Goulet, S. J. Hollister

Orthopaedic Research Laboratories, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48109

J Biomech Eng 120(5), 640-646 (Oct 01, 1998) (7 pages) doi:10.1115/1.2834756 History: Received December 01, 1997; Revised April 11, 1998; Online January 23, 2008


An alternative concept of the relationship between morphological and elastic properties of trabecular bone is presented and applied to human tissue from several anatomical locations using a digital approach. The three-dimensional morphology of trabecular bone was assessed with a microcomputed tomography system and the method of directed secants as well as the star volume procedure were used to compute mean intercept length (MIL) and average bone length (ABL) of 4 mm cubic specimens. Assuming isotropic elastic properties for the trabecular tissue, the general elastic tensors of the bone specimens were determined using the homogenization method and the closest orthotropic tensors were calculated with an optimization algorithm. The assumption of orthotropy for trabecular bone was found to improve with specimen size and hold within 6.1 percent for a 4 mm cube size. A strong global relationship (r2 = 0.95) was obtained between fabric and the orthotropic elastic tensor with a minimal set of five constants. Mean intercept length and average bone length provided an equivalent power of prediction. These results support the hypothesis that the elastic properties of human trabecular bone from an arbitrary anatomical location can be estimated from an approximation of the anisotropic morphology and a prior knowledge of tissue properties.

Copyright © 1998 by The American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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