The effects of bone and pore volume fraction on the mechanical properties of PMMA/bone biopsies extracted from augmented vertebrae

M. Kinzl*, A. Boger, P. K. Zysset, D. H. Pahr

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Journal article (peer-reviewed)Journal article

13 Citations (Scopus)


Vertebroplasty forms a porous PMMA/bone composite which was shown to be weaker and less stiff than pure PMMA. It is not known what determines the mechanical properties of such composites in detail. This study investigated the effects of bone volume fraction (BV/TV), cement porosity (PV/(TV-BV), PV...pore volume) and cement stiffness. Nine human vertebral bodies were augmented with either standard or low-modulus PMMA cement and scanned with a HR-pQCT system before and after augmentation. Fourteen cylindrical PMMA/bone biopsies were extracted from the augmented region, scanned with a micro-CT system and tested in compression until failure. Micro-finite element (FE) models of the complete biopsies, of the trabecular bone alone as well as of the porous cement alone were generated from CT images to gain more insight into the role of bone and pores. PV/(TV-BV) and experimental moduli of standard/low-modulus cement (R2=0.91/0.98) as well as PV/(TV-BV) and yield stresses (R2=0.92/0.83) were highly correlated. No correlation between BV/TV (ranging from 0.057 to 0.138) and elastic moduli was observed (R2< 0.05). Interestingly, the micro-FE models of the porous cement alone reproduced the experimental elastic moduli of the standard/low-modulus cement biopsies (R2=0.75/0.76) more accurately than the models with bone (R2=0.58/0.31). In conclusion, the mechanical properties of the biopsies were mainly determined by the cement porosity and the cement material properties. The study showed that bone tissue inside the biopsies was mechanically "switched off" such that load was carried essentially by the porous PMMA.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2732-2736
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Biomechanics
Issue number15
Publication statusPublished - 13 Oct 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Cement
  • Material properties
  • PMMA
  • Pore volume
  • Vertebroplasty

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Rehabilitation


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