Osteoporosis leads to an increased risk of bone fracture. While bone density and architecture can be assessed in vivo with increasing accuracy using CT and MRI, their relationship with the critical mechanical properties at various anatomical sites remain unclear. The objective of this study was to quantify the quasi-static compressive mechanical properties of human trabecular bone among different skeletal sites and compare their relationships with bone volume fraction and a measure of microstructural anisotropy called fabric. Over 600 trabecular bone samples from six skeletal sites were assessed by μCTμCT and tested in uniaxial compression. Bone volume fraction correlated positively with elastic modulus, yield stress, ultimate stress, and the relationships depended strongly on skeletal site. The account of fabric improved these correlations substantially, especially when the data of all sites were pooled together, but the fabric–mechanical property relationships remained somewhat distinct among the anatomical sites. The study confirms that, beyond volume fraction, fabric plays an important role in determining the mechanical properties of trabecular bone and should be exploited in mechanical analysis of clinically relevant sites of the human skeleton.
Keywords: Compression; Fabric; Quasi-static; Mechanical testing; Stiffness; Trabecular bone; Volume fraction; Yield