Trabecular bone structure may complement bone volume/total volume fraction (BV/TV) in the prediction of the mechanical properties. Nonetheless, the direct in vivo use of information pertaining to trabecular bone structure necessitates some predictive analytical model linking structure measures to mechanical properties. In this context, the purpose of this study was to combine BV/ TV and topological parameters so as to better estimate the mechanical properties of trabecular bone. Thirteen trabecular bone midsagittal sections were imaged by magnetic resonance (MR) imaging at the resolution of 117 x 117 x 300 mum(3). Topological parameters were evaluated in applying the 3D-line skeleton graph analysis (LSGA) technique to the binary MR images. The same images were used to estimate the elastic moduli by finite element analysis (FEA). In addition to the mid-sagittal section, two cylindrical samples were cored from each vertebra along vertical and horizontal directions. Monotonic compression tests were applied to these samples to measure both vertical and horizontal ultimate stresses. BV/TV was found as a strong predictor of the mechanical properties, accounting for 89-94% of the variability of the elastic moduli and for 69-86% of the variability of the ultimate stresses. Topological parameters and BV/TV were combined following two analytical formulations, based on: (1) the normalization of the topological parameters; and on (2) an exponential fit-model. The normalized parameters accounted for 96-98% of the variability of the elastic moduli, and the exponential model accounted for 80-95% of the variability of the ultimate stresses. Such formulations could potentially be used to increase the prediction of the mechanical properties of trabecular bone.
Keywords: Trabecular bone structure; Topological parameters; Mechanical properties; 3D-LSGA; FEA