While the effects of bone mineral density and architecture in osteoporotic bone have been studied extensively, the micromechanics of yielding and failure have received less attention. However, understanding architectural eatures associated with failure should provide insight into assessing bone quality. In this study, microstructural finite element models were used to compute regions of tissue level yielding in ten bovine tibial trabecular bone samples. The morphology, number, and mean volume of the yielded regions were quantified for four apparent strains under two loading conditions. For on-axis loading, the mean aspect ratio of the tissue that yielded due to compressive strain increased with increasing apparent strain, expanding along the principal trabecular orientation. This suggests that tissue level yielding progresses along vertical trabeculae when a specimen is loaded on-axis. The number, but not the volume, of the regions yielded due to tensile strain increased with increasing applied load, consistent with relaxation and redistribution of stresses around the yielded regions. When the specimens were compressed perpendicular to the principal axis, the aspect ratio of the yielded regions was close to one, while the number, mean volume, and mean thickness of the yielded regions increased. This indicates that localized high strains consistent with bending ather than axial deformation of struts occur at the tissue level. Overall, the results provide new insight into trabecular bone failure, which is relevant to assessing diagnostic tests for fracture risk or evaluating osteoporosis treatments.
Keywords: Trabecular bone; Architecture; Finite element analysis; Morphology