Recently published compression tests on PMMA/bone specimens extracted after vertebral bone augmentation indicated that PMMA/bone composites were not reinforced by the trabecular bone at all. In this study, the reasons for this unexpected behavior should be investigated by using non-linear micro-FE models. Six human vertebral bodies were augmented with either standard or low-modulus PMMA cement and scanned with a HR-pQCT system before and after augmentation. Six cylindrical PMMA/bone specimens were extracted from the augmented region, scanned with a micro-CT system and tested in compression. Four different micro-FE models were generated from these images which showed different bone tissue material behavior (with/without damage), interface behavior (perfect bonding, frictionless contact) and PMMA shrinkage due to polymerization. The non-linear stress-strain curves were compared between the different micro-FE models as well as to the compression tests of the PMMA/bone specimens. Micro-FE models with contact between bone and cement were 20% more compliant compared to those with perfect bonding. PMMA shrinkage damaged the trabecular bone already before mechanical loading, which further reduced the initial stiffness by 24%. Progressing bone damage during compression dominated the non-linear part of the stress-strain curves. The micro-FE models including bone damage and PMMA shrinkage were in good agreement with the compression tests. The results were similar with both cements. In conclusion, the PMMA/bone interface properties as well as the initial bone damage due to PMMA polymerization shrinkage clearly affected the stress-strain behavior of the composite and explained why trabecular bone did not contribute to the stiffness and strength of augmented bone.
- Material properties
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
- Biomedical Engineering