A novel, hand-held Reference Point Indentation (RPI) instrument, measures how well the bone of living patients and large animals resists indentation. The results presented here are reported in terms of Bone Material Strength, which is a normalized measure of how well the bone resists indentation, and is inversely related to the indentation distance into the bone. We present examples of the instrument's use in: (1) laboratory experiments on bone, including experiments through a layer of soft tissue, (2) three human clinical trials, two ongoing in Barcelona and at the Mayo Clinic, and one completed in Portland, OR, and (3) two ongoing horse clinical trials, one at Purdue University and another at Alamo Pintado Stables in California. The instrument is capable of measuring consistent values when testing through soft tissue such as skin and periosteum, and does so handheld, an improvement over previous Reference Point Indentation instruments. Measurements conducted on horses showed reproducible results when testing the horse through tissue or on bare bone. In the human clinical trials, reasonable and consistent values were obtained, suggesting the Osteoprobe® is capable of measuring Bone Material Strength in vivo, but larger studies are needed to determine the efficacy of the instrument's use in medical diagnosis.

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