Predictive value of femoral head heterogeneity for fracture risk

E. Tanck, A.D. Bakker, S. Kregting, B. Cornelissen, J. Klein-Nulend, B. Rietbergen, van

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Osteoporosis (OP) is characterized by low bone mass and weak bone structure, which results in increased fracture risk. It has been suggested that osteoporotic bone is strongly adapted to the main loading direction and less adapted to the other directions. In this study, we hypothesized that osteoporotic femoral heads have 1) an increased anisotropy; 2) a more heterogenic distribution of bone volume fraction (BV/TV) throughout the femoral head; and, 3) a more heterogenic distribution of the trabecular thickness (Tb.Th.) throughout the femoral head, as compared to non-osteoporotic bone. To test these hypotheses, we used 7 osteoporotic femoral heads from patients who fractured their femoral neck and 7 non-fractured femoral heads from patients with osteoarthrosis (OA). Bone structural parameters from the entire trabecular region were analyzed using microCT. We found that the degree of anisotropy was higher in the fractured femoral heads, i.e. 1.72, compared to a value of 1.61 in the non-fractured femoral heads. The BV/TV and Tb.Th. and their variations throughout the femoral head, however, were all significantly lower in the fractured group. Hence, the first hypothesis was confirmed, whereas the other two were rejected. Interestingly, the variation of Tb.Th. throughout the femoral head provided a 100% discrimination between the OP and OA groups, i.e. for the same BV/TV, all fractured cases had a less heterogenic distribution. In conclusion, our results suggest that bone loss in OP takes place uniformly throughout the femoral head, leading to an overall decrease in bone mass and trabecular thickness. Furthermore, the variation of Tb.Th. in the femoral head could be an interesting parameter to improve the prediction of fracture risk in the proximal femur. © 2008 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)590-595
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2009


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