The apparent mechanical behavior of trabecular bone depends on properties at the tissue or trabecular level. Many investigators have attempted to determine trabecular tissue properties and loading. However, accuracy and applicability of all methods reported are limited. The small size of the trabeculae and a possible size effect are complicating factors when using traditional testing methods on single trabeculae. Other methods reported, using models that describe the trabecular structure, are of limited value because they consider bone as a repetitive structure in order to describe a reasonably large region of bone. The present study introduces a new finite-element method strategy that enables analysis of reasonably large regions of trabecular bone in full detail. The method uses three-dimensional serial reconstruction techniques to construct a large-scale FE model, by directly converting voxels to elements. A 5 mm cube of trabecular bone was modeled in this way, resulting in a FE model that consists of 296,679 elements. Special strategies were developed to solve the set of equations that results from the FE approach. Using this model in combination with experimental apparent data taken from the literature, the upper and lower boundaries for the tissue modulus were calculated to be 10.1 and 2.23 GPa, respectively. From the local stress and strain distributions it was concluded that the deformation mode of the trabeculae in the present cube was predominantly in bending. It was concluded that the method developed offers new perspectives for the study of trabecular bone.

*Models, Biological, Algorithms, Bone and Bones/anatomy & histology/*physiology, Computer Simulation, Elasticity, Humans, Image Processing, Computer-Assisted, Reproducibility of Results, Signal Processing, Computer-Assisted, Stress, Mechanical, Tibia/physiology,
Journal of Biomechanics
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

van Rietbergen, R, Weinans, H.H, Huiskes, R, & Odgaard, A. (1995). A new method to determine trabecular bone elastic properties and loading using micromechanical finite-element models. Journal of Biomechanics, 28(1), 69–81. doi:10.1016/0021-9290(95)80008-5