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Curr Osteoporos Rep. 2003 Jun;1(1):11-9.

Combining high-resolution micro-computed tomography with material composition to define the quality of bone tissue.

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  • 1Department of Biomedical Engineering, Psychology A Building, 3rd Floor, State University of New York at Stony Brook, Stony Brook, NY 11794-2580, USA.


Atraumatic fractures of the skeleton in osteoporotic patients are directly related to a deterioration of bone strength. However, the failure of the bone tissue to withstand functional load bearing cannot be explained as a simple decrease in bone mineral density (quantity); strength is also significantly dependent upon bone quality. While a formal definition of bone quality is somewhat elusive, at the very least, it incorporates architectural, physical, and biologic factors that are critical to bone strength. Such factors include bone morphology (ie, trabecular connectivity, cross-sectional geometry, longitudinal curvature); the tissue's material properties (eg, stiffness, strength); its chemical composition and architecture (eg, ratio of calcium to other components of the organic and/or inorganic phase, collagen orientation, porosity, permeability); and the viability of the tissue (eg, responsivity of the bone cell population). Combining high-resolution structural indices of bone, as determined by micro-computed tomography; material properties determined by nanoindentation; and the chemical make-up of bone, as determined by infrared spectroscopy, helps to provide critical information toward a more comprehensive assessment of the interdependence of bone quality, quantity, and fracture risk.

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