Hip fractures are the most serious complication of osteoporosis and have been recognized as a major public health problem. In elderly persons, hip fractures occur as a result of increased fragility of the proximal femur due to osteoporosis. It is essential to precisely quantify the strength of the proximal femur in order to estimate the fracture risk and plan preventive interventions. CT-based finite element analysis could possibly achieve precise assessment of the strength of the proximal femur. The purpose of this study was to create a simulation model that could accurately predict the strength and surface strains of the proximal femur using a CT-based finite element method and to verify the accuracy of our model by load testing using fresh frozen cadaver specimens. Eleven right femora were collected. The axial CT scans of the proximal femora were obtained with a calibration phantom, from which the 3D finite element models were constructed. Materially nonlinear finite element analyses were performed. The yield and fracture loads were calculated, while the sites where elements failed and the distributions of the principal strains were determined.
The strain gauges were attached to the proximal femoral surfaces. A quasi-static compression test of each femur was conducted. The yield loads, fracture loads and principal strains of the prediction significantly correlated with those measured (r=0.941, 0.979, 0.963). Finite element analysis showed that the solid elements and shell elements in undergoing compressive failure were at the same subcapital region as the experimental fracture site.