Areal bone mineral density (aBMD) is the most common surrogate measurement for assessing the bone strength of the proximal femur associated with osteoporosis. Additional\ud factors, however, contribute to the overall strength of the proximal femur, primarily the anatomical geometry. Finite element analysis (FEA) is an effective and widely used computerbased simulation technique for modeling mechanical loading of various engineering structures, providing predictions of displacement and induced stress distribution due to the applied load. FEA is therefore inherently dependent upon both density and anatomical geometry. FEA may\ud be performed on both three-dimensional and two-dimensional models of the proximal femur derived from radiographic images, from which the mechanical stiffness may be redicted.\ud \ud It is examined whether the outcome measures of two-dimensional FEA, two-dimensional, finite element analysis of X-ray images (FEXI), and three-dimensional FEA computed stiffness of the proximal femur were more sensitive than aBMD to changes in trabecular bone density and femur geometry. It is assumed that if an outcome measure follows known trends with changes in density and geometric parameters, then an increased sensitivity will be indicative of an improved prediction of bone strength. All three outcome measures increased non-linearly with\ud trabecular bone density, increased linearly with cortical shell thickness and neck width, decreased linearly with neck length, and were relatively insensitive to neck-shaft angle. For femoral head radius, aBMD was relatively insensitive, with two-dimensional FEXI and threedimensional\ud FEA demonstrating a non-linear increase and decrease in sensitivity, respectively. For neck anteversion, aBMD decreased non-linearly, whereas both two-dimensional FEXI and three dimensional FEA demonstrated a parabolic-type relationship, with maximum stiffness achieved at an angle of approximately 15o. Multi-parameter analysis showed that all three outcome measures demonstrated their highest sensitivity to a change in cortical thickness. When changes in all input parameters were considered simultaneously, three and twodimensional FEA had statistically equal sensitivities (0.41±0.20 and 0.42±0.16 respectively, p = ns) that were significantly higher than the sensitivity of aBMD (0.24±0.07; p = 0.014 and 0.002\ud for three-dimensional and two-dimensional FEA respectively). This simulation study suggests that since mechanical integrity and FEA are inherently dependent upon anatomical geometry, FEXI stiffness, being derived from conventional two-dimensional radiographic images, may\ud provide an improvement in the prediction of bone strength of the proximal femur than currently provided by aBMD
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