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Bone. 1999 May;24(5):513-6.

Anisotropy of osteoporotic cancellous bone.

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Institute for Frontier Medical Sciences, Kyoto University, Japan.


To investigate the mechanism underlying femoral neck fracture, it is necessary to determine the various mechanical properties, including the bone strength, of the primary compressive group. We investigated the mechanical anisotrophy of the primary compressive group by comparing differences in its mechanical properties, depending on the loading direction. Twenty-three femoral heads of 20 female and 3 male patients with femoral neck fracture were studied. The mean age of these patients was 79.9 years (range, 63-98 years). A total of 82 cubic specimens (6.5 mm in length) were obtained (one to six specimens from each femoral head). The specimens obtained from each femoral head were randomly assigned into two groups: parallel and perpendicular. The parallel group included 43 specimens, and the perpendicular group included 39 specimens. A compressive load was applied either parallel or perpendicular to the primary compressive group of the specimens in each respective group. Three parameters were obtained: compressive stiffness, maximum stress, and maximum energy. We calculated the regression of three parameters against the square of the apparent dry density. These mechanical properties were compared between the two groups by testing the difference of the slopes in two regression lines by using analyses of covariance, in which two main effects of group (nominal value) and the square of the apparent dry density (continuous value) and an interaction between two factors were modeled. Three parameters were significantly correlated with the square of the apparent dry density in both groups. In all three measurements, the difference of the slopes between two regression lines was significantly different. This means that all three measurements decreased in the parallel group more than in the perpendicular one, as apparent dry density decreased. We consider that the bone strength of the proximal femur decreases more when stress is applied in the longitudinal direction (as in walking) and less when stress is applied in the transverse direction (as in a fall) when bone density decreases.

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