Biomechanics of immature human cortical bone: A systematic review

J Mech Behav Biomed Mater. 2022 Jan:125:104889. doi: 10.1016/j.jmbbm.2021.104889. Epub 2021 Oct 8.


The whole bone geometry, microstructure, and mechanical properties of mature human bone are widely reported; however, immature bone (0-18 years) has not been similarly robustly characterized. There is an interest in analyzing and predicting the mechanical loading conditions associated with long bone diaphyseal fractures attributed to trauma in children. Thus, understanding the mechanical properties of immature bone in a temporal reference frame is an essential first step to understand diaphyseal fractures of pediatric long bones. The purpose of this systematic review was to ask, what is the state of knowledge regarding the 1) evolution of whole bone geometry and microstructure of immature pediatric bone as a function of maturation and 2) cortical bone density and experimental quasi-static mechanical properties at the tissue level in the diaphyseal region of immature pediatric long bones? The systematic search yielded 36 studies of the whole bone geometry, microstructure, and mechanical properties of immature pediatric long bones. The elastic modulus, yield stress, and ultimate stress were shown to generally increase with maturation, whereas the yield strain was approximately invariant; however, the specific year-to-year progression of these properties could not be characterized from the limited studies available. The results of this systematic search indicate there is a dearth of knowledge associated with the biomechanics of cortical bone from immature pediatric long bones; it also provides a basis for computational studies of immature human long bones. Additional biomechanical studies of immature human bone are necessary to develop a robust catalogue, which can be used in broad applications to understand fracture mechanics, bone pathologies, and athletic injury in the pediatric setting.

Keywords: Biomechanical properties; Cortical bone; Pediatric bone.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Biophysics
  • Bone and Bones*
  • Child
  • Cortical Bone*
  • Diaphyses
  • Humans