Bauer, Jan S; Sidorenko, Irina; Mueller, Dirk; Baum, Thomas; Issever, Ahi Sema; Eckstein, Felix; Rummeny, Ernst J; Link, Thomas M; Raeth, Christoph W
Prediction of bone strength by ?CT and MDCT-based finite-element-models: How much spatial resolution is needed?
Finite-element-models (FEM) are a promising technology to predict bone strength and fracture risk. Usually, the highest spatial resolution technically available is used, but this requires excessive computation time and memory in numerical simulations of large volumes. Thus, FEM were compared at decreasing resolutions with respect to local strain distribution and prediction of failure load to (1) validate MDCT-based FEM and to (2) optimize spatial resolution to save computation time.20 cylindrical trabecular bone specimens (diameter 12mm, length 15-20mm) were harvested from elderly formalin-fixed human thoracic spines. All specimens were examined by micro-CT (isotropic resolution 30?m) and whole-body multi-row-detector computed tomography (MDCT, 250?m×250?m×500?m). The resolution of all datasets was lowered in eight steps to ~2000?m×2000?m×500?m and FEM were calculated at all resolutions. Failure load was determined by biomechanical testing. Probability density functions of local micro-strains were compared in all datasets and correlations between FEM-based and biomechanically measured failure loads were determined.The distribution of local micro-strains was similar for micro-CT and MDCT at comparable resolutions and showed a shift toward higher average values with decreasing resolution, corresponding to the increasing apparent trabecular thickness. Small micro-strains (?eff<0.005) could be calculated down to 250?m×250?m×500?m. Biomechanically determined failure load showed significant correlations with all FEM, up to r=0.85 and did not significantly change with lower resolution but decreased with high thresholds, due to loss of trabecular connectivity.When choosing connectivity-preserving thresholds, both micro-CT- and MDCT-based finite-element-models well predicted failure load and still accurately revealed the distribution of local micro-strains in spatial resolutions, available in vivo (250?m×250?m×500?m), that thus seemed to be the optimal compromise between high accuracy and low computation time.