Creep, the time dependent deformation of a structure under load, is an important viscoelastic property of bone and may play a role in the development of permanent deformity of the vertebrae in vivo leading to clinically observable spinal fractures. To date, creep properties and their relationship to geometric, microstructural, and material properties have not been described in isolated human vertebral bodies. In this study, a range of image-based measures of vertebral bone geometry, bone mass, microarchitecture and mineralization were examined in multiple regression models in an effort to understand their contribution to creep behavior. Several variables, such as measures of mineralization heterogeneity, average bone density, and connectivity density persistently appeared as significant effects in multiple regression models (adjusted r2: 0.17-0.56). Although further work is needed to identify additional tissue properties to fully describe the portion of variability not explained by these models, these data are expected to help understand mechanisms underlying creep and improve prediction of vertebral deformities that eventually progress to a clinically observable fracture.
Keywords: Creep; Geometry; Material properties; Microstructure; Vertebral body.
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