Osteoporosis is an age-related disease characterized by low bone mass and architectural deterioration. Other than bone volume fraction (BV/TV), microarchitecture of trabecular bone, such as trabecular type (rods or plates), connectivity, and orientation of the trabecular network is also believed to be important in governing the mechanical properties of trabecular bone. A recent study [1] showed that the microarchitecture alone affects elastic moduli of trabecular bone and, further, that trabecular plates make a far greater contribution than rods. In human vertebral trabecular bone, the roles of transverse vs. vertical rods in conferring mechanical properties of trabecular bone have been debated [2, 3]. It has been suggested that the role of transverse trabecular rod is critical in determining elastic modulus of vertebral trabecular bone. However, without explicit classifications of trabecular type, or orientation assessment at an individual trabecula level, it is not possible yet to test this hypothesis in human trabecular bone samples despite the development of three-dimensional (3D) micro computed tomography (μCT) and μCT based finite element (FE) models of human trabecular bone. With the newly developed technique of complete volumetric decomposition and individual trabecula based orientation analyses [4], now it is possible to quantitatively examine the contributions of trabecular rods of various orientations in the elastic properties of vertebral trabecular bone.

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