Trabecular bone mechanical properties in patients with fragility fractures

Clin Orthop Relat Res. 2009 Aug;467(8):1955-63. doi: 10.1007/s11999-009-0751-8. Epub 2009 Feb 27.


Fragility fractures are generally associated with substantial loss in trabecular bone mass and alterations in structural anisotropy. Despite the high correlations between measures of trabecular mass and mechanical properties, significant overlap in density measures exists between individuals with osteoporosis and those who do not fracture. The purpose of this paper is to provide an analysis of trabecular properties associated with fragility fractures. While accurate measures of bone mass and 3-D orientation have been demonstrated to explain 80% to 90% of the variance in mechanical behavior, clinical and experimental experience suggests the unexplained proportion of variance may be a key determinant in separating high- and low-risk patients. Using a hierarchical perspective, we demonstrate the potential contributions of structural and tissue morphology, material properties, and chemical composition to the apparent mechanical properties of trabecular bone. The results suggest that the propensity for an individual to remodel or adapt to habitual damaging or nondamaging loads may distinguish them in terms of risk for failure.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biomechanical Phenomena*
  • Bone and Bones / pathology*
  • Bone and Bones / physiopathology*
  • Fractures, Spontaneous / physiopathology*
  • Humans