[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Stress magnitude and variability as estimated from large scale finite element (FE) analyses have been associated with compressive strength of human vertebral cancellous cores but these relationships have not been explored for whole vertebral bodies. In this study, the objectives were to investigate the relationship of FE-calculated stress distribution parameters with experimentally determined strength, stiffness, and displacement based ductility measures in human whole vertebral bodies, investigate the effect of endplate loading conditions on vertebral stiffness, strength, and ductility and test the hypothesis that endplate topography affects vertebral ductility and stress distributions. Eighteen vertebral bodies (T6-L3 levels; 4 female and 5 male cadavers, aged 40-98 years) were scanned using a flat-panel CT system and followed with axial compression testing with Wood's metal as filler material to maintain flat boundaries between load plates and specimens. FE models were constructed using reconstructed CT images and filler material was added digitally. Two different FE models with different filler material modulus simulating Wood's metal and intervertebral disc (W-layer and D-layer models) were used. Element material modulus to cancellous bone was based on image gray value. Average, standard deviation, and coefficient of variation of von Mises stress in vertebral bone for W-layer and D-layer models and also the ratios of FE parameters from the two models (W/D) were calculated. Inferior and superior endplate surface topographical distribution parameters were calculated. Experimental stiffness, maximum load and work to fracture had the highest correlation with FE-calculated stiffness while experimental ductility measures had highest correlations with FE-calculated average von Mises stress and W-layer to D-layer stiffness ratio. Endplate topography of the vertebra was also associated with its structural ductility and the distribution parameter that best explained this association was kurtosis of inferior endplate topography. Our results indicate that endplate topography variations may provide insight into the mechanisms responsible for vertebral fractures.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The lack of accuracy in the prediction of vertebral fracture risk from average density measurements, all external factors being equal, may not just be because bone mineral density (BMD) is less than a perfect surrogate for bone strength but also because strength alone may not be sufficient to fully characterize the structural failure of a vertebra. Apart from bone quantity, the regional variation of cancellous architecture would have a role in governing the mechanical properties of vertebrae. In this study, we estimated various microstructural parameters of the vertebral cancellous centrum based on stereological analysis. An earlier study indicated that within-vertebra variability, measured as the coefficient of variation (COV) of bone volume fraction (BV/TV) or as COV of finite element-estimated apparent modulus (E(FE)) correlated well with vertebral strength. Therefore, as an extension to our earlier study, we investigated (i) whether the relationships of vertebral strength found with COV of BV/TV and COV of E(FE) could be extended to the COV of other microstructural parameters and microcomputed tomography-estimated BMD and (ii) whether COV of microstructural parameters were associated with structural ductility measures. COV-based measures were more strongly associated with vertebral strength and ductility measures than average microstructural measures. Moreover, our results support a hypothesis that decreased microstructural variability, while associated with increased strength, may result in decreased structural toughness and ductility. The current findings suggest that variability-based measures could provide an improvement, as a supplement to clinical BMD, in screening for fracture risk through an improved prediction of bone strength and ductility. Further understanding of the biological mechanisms underlying microstructural variability may help develop new treatment strategies for improved structural ductility.
Journal of Biomechanical Engineering 10/2009; 131(9):094501. · 1.52 Impact Factor