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J Mech Behav Biomed Mater. 2010 Jan;3(1):31-40. doi: 10.1016/j.jmbbm.2009.03.001. Epub 2009 Mar 20.

Mechanical evaluation by patient-specific finite element analyses demonstrates therapeutic effects for osteoporotic vertebrae.

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RIKEN, The Institute of Physical and Chemical Research, Hirosawa, Wako-shi, Saitama, Japan.


Osteoporosis can lead to bone compressive fractures in the lower lumbar vertebrae. In order to assess the recovery of vertebral strength during drug treatment for osteoporosis, it is necessary not only to measure the bone mass but also to perform patient-specific mechanical analyses, since the strength of osteoporotic vertebrae is strongly dependent on patient-specific factors, such as bone shape and bone density distribution in cancellous bone, which are related to stress distribution in the vertebrae. In the present study, patient-specific general (not voxel) finite element analyses of osteoporotic vertebrae during drug treatment were performed over time. We compared changes in bone density and compressive principal strain distribution in a relative manner using models for the first lumbar vertebra based on computer tomography images of four patients at three time points (before therapy, and after 6 and 12 months of therapy). The patient-specific mechanical analyses indicated that increases in bone density and decreases in compressive principal strain were significant in some osteoporotic vertebrae. The data suggested that the vertebrae were strengthened structurally and the drug treatment was effective in preventing compression fractures. The effectiveness of patient-specific mechanical analyses for providing useful and important information for the prognosis of osteoporosis is demonstrated.

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