Fractures of the distal section of the radius (Colles’ fractures) occur earlier in life than other osteoporotic fractures. Therefore, they can be interpreted as a warning signal for later, more deleterious fractures of vertebral bodies or the femoral neck. In the past decade, the advent of HR-pQCT allowed a detailed architectural analysis of the distal radius and an automated but time-consuming estimation of its strength with linear micro-finite element (μFE) analysis. Recently, a second generation of HR-pQCT scanner (XtremeCT II, SCANCO Medical, Switzerland) with a resolution beyond 61 μm became available for even more refined biomechanical investigations in vivo. This raises the question how biomechanical outcome variables compare between the original (LR) and the new (HR) scanner resolution. Accordingly, the aim of this work was to validate experimentally a patient-specific homogenized finite element (hFE) analysis of the distal section of the human radius for the fast prediction of Colles’ fracture load based on the last generation HR-pQCT. Fourteen pairs of fresh frozen forearms (mean age = 77.5±9) were scanned intact using the high (61 μm) and the low (82 μm) resolution protocols that correspond to the new and original HR-pQCT systems. From each forearm, the 20 mm most distal section of the radius were dissected out, scanned with μCT at 16.4 μm and tested experimentally under compression up to failure for assessment of stiffness and ultimate load. Linear and nonlinear hFE models together with linear micro finite element (μFE) models were then generated based on the μCT and HR-pQCT reconstructions to predict the aforementioned mechanical properties of 24 sections. Precision errors of the short term reproducibility of the FE analyses were measured based on the repeated scans of 12 sections. The calculated failure loads correlated strongly with those measured in the experiments: accounting for donor as a random factor, the nonlinear hFE provided a marginal coefficient of determination (Rm 2) of 0.957 for the high resolution (HR) and 0.948 for the low resolution (LR) protocols, the linear hFE with Rm 2 of 0.957 for the HR and 0.947 for the LR protocols. Linear μFE predictions of the ultimate load were similar with an Rm 2 of 0.950 for the HR and 0.954 for the LR protocols, respectively. Nonlinear hFE strength computation led to precision errors of 2.2 and 2.3% which were higher than the ones calculated based on the linear hFE (1.6 and 1.9%) and linear μFE (1.2 and 1.6%) for the HR and LR protocols respectively. Computation of the fracture load with nonlinear hFE demanded in average 6 h of CPU time which was 3 times faster than with linear μFE, while computation with linear hFE took only a few minutes. This study delivers an extensive experimental and numerical validation for the application of an accurate and fast hFE diagnostic tool to help in identifying individuals who may be at risk of an osteoporotic wrist fracture and to follow up pharmacological and other treatments in such patients.
- Bone strength
- Distal radius
- Finite element analysis
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism