High-resolution peripheral quantitative computed tomography (HR-pQCT) is a promising imaging modality that provides an in vivo three-dimensional (3D) assessment of bone microstructure by scanning fixed regions of the distal radius and tibia. However, how microstructural parameters and mechanical analysis based on these segment scans correlate to whole distal radius and tibia mechanics are not well-characterized. On 26 sets of cadaveric radius and tibia, HR-pQCT scans were performed on the standard scan segment, a segment distal to the standard segment, and a segment proximal to the standard segment. Whole distal radius and tibia stiffness were determined through mechanical testing. Segment bone stiffness was estimated using linear finite element (FE) analysis based on segment scans. Standard morphological and individual trabecula segmentation (ITS) analyses were used to estimate microstructural properties. Significant variations in microstructural parameters were observed among segments at both sites. Correlation to whole distal radius and tibia stiffness was moderate for microstructural parameters at the standard segment, but correlation was significantly increased for FE-predicted segment bone stiffness based on standard segment scans. Similar correlation strengths were found between FE-predicted segment bone stiffness and whole distal radius and tibia stiffness. Additionally, microstructural parameters at the distal segment had higher correlation to whole distal radius and tibia stiffness than at standard or proximal segments. Our results suggest that FE-predicted segment stiffness is a better predictor of whole distal radius and tibia stiffness for clinical HR-pQCT analysis and that microstructural parameters at the distal segment are more highly correlated with whole distal radius and tibia stiffness than at the standard or proximal segments.

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