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Research Article

Vol. 9 No. 2 (2006)

An approach to compare the quality of cancellous bone from the femoral necks of healthy and osteoporotic patients through compression testing and microcomputed tomography imaging

  • Anthony Ciarallo
  • Jake Barralet
  • Michael Tanzer
  • Richard Kremer
November 8, 2020


It is estimated that osteoporosis is responsible for about 300 000 hip fractures per year in the United States. Effective prevention of these fractures has been demonstrated using bisphosphonates. However, their mechanism of action has not been elucidated. Furthermore, the precise effect of bisphosphonates on the femoral neck and surrounding areas has never been studied. We are interested in establishing a protocol to analyze the bone quality of proximal femurs from patients treated with bisphosphonates. Following hip replacement surgery, the aim is to determine whether imaging and compression testing of cancellous bone from the discarded femoral necks can accurately assess the bone’s microarchitectural and biomechanical properties, respectively. To validate the technique, it was first tested on an untreated population. A bone biopsy trephine was used to extract cylindrical cores of trabecular bone from the centre of femoral necks. Densitometry, microcomputed tomography, and compression testing were used to assess the quality of bone in these samples. The compressive strength was found to be directly proportional to the modulus (i.e. stiffness) of the samples, thus reproducing previous findings. The relative porosity and, to a lesser extent, the bone mineral density were capable of predicting the quality of cancellous bone. In conclusion, a protocol to analyze the bone quality in human femoral necks using μCT and biomechanical compression testing was successfully established. It will be applied in a clinical setting to analyze bones from bisphosphonate-treated patients following total hip replacement.


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