In orthopedics research, assessment of fracture healing progress is vital for evaluating treatment strategies and drug effects. Currently, biomechanical testing represents the ‘gold standard’ for determining the extent of healing, with the parameters of stiffness and strength most often reported. Unfortunately, such testing requires destructive examination of samples, which allows healing to be checked at only one time-point per animal. Thus, evaluation of healing requires large sample sizes to achieve statistical power. In contrast, longitudinal studies of individual animals allows for self-comparison, which is more reliable, and can be used to evaluate bone healing as time elapses. Recently, longitudinal radiographic assessment of bone healing in rats, using parameters such the level of bone mineralization, morphological changes, and distribution of the mineralized bone, has been reported. However, the ability to quantify the biomechanical properties of healing bones based on longitudinal radiographic images provides an tremendous opportunity to increase the value of such studies.

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