μFEA successfully exhibits higher stresses and strains in microdamaged regions of whole vertebrae

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Abstract

Micro-finite element (μFE) modeling has shown promise in evaluating the structural integrity of trabecular bone. Histologic microcrack analyses have been compared to μFE models of trabecular bone cores to demonstrate the potential of this technique. To date this has not been achieved in whole bone structures, and comparisons of histologic microcrack and μFE results have been limited due to challenges in alignment of 2D sections with 3D data sets. The goal of this study was to ascertain if image registration can facilitate determination of a relationship between stresses and strains generated from μFE models of whole vertebrae and histologically identified microdamage. μFE models of three whole vertebrae, stained sequentially with calcein and fuchsin, were generated with accurate integration of element sets representing the histologic sections based on volumetric image registration. Displacement boundary conditions were applied to the μFE models based on registration of loaded and unloaded μCT images. Histologically labeled damaged regions were found to have significantly higher von Mises stresses and principle strains in the μFE models, as compared to undamaged regions. This work provides a new robust method for generating and histologically validating μFE models of whole bones that can represent trabecular damage resulting from complex physiologic loading. © 2013 Orthopaedic Research Society. Published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Orthop Res 31:1653–1660, 2013

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