Osteoporosis is a progressive systemic skeletal condition characterized by low bone mass and microarchitectural deterioration, with a consequent increase in susceptibility to fracture. Hence, osteoporosis would be best diagnosed by in vivo measurements of bone strength. As this is not clinically feasible, our goal is to estimate bone strength through the assessment of elastic properties, which are highly correlated to strength. Previously established relations between morphological parameters (volume fraction and fabric) and elastic constants could be applied to estimate cancellous bone stiffness in vivo. However, these relations were determined for normal cancellous bone. Cancellous bone from osteoporotic patients may require different relations. In this study we set out to answer two questions. First, can the elastic properties of osteoporotic cancellous bone be estimated from morphological parameters? Second, do the relations between morphological parameters and elastic constants, determined for normal bone, apply to osteoporotic bone as well? To answer these questions we used cancellous bone cubes from femoral heads of patients with (n = 26) and without (n = 32) hip fractures. The elastic properties of the cubes were determined using micro-finite element analysis, assuming equal tissue moduli for all specimens. The morphological parameters were determined using microcomputed tomography. Our results showed that, for equal tissue properties, the elastic properties of cancellous bone from fracture patients could indeed be estimated from morphological parameters. The morphology-based relations used to estimate the elastic properties of cancellous bone are not different for women with or without fractures.
Keywords: Cancellous Bone; Apparent stiffness properties; Morphology; Fabric; Osteoporosis