Strategies in Trauma and Limb Reconstruction

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VOLUME 9 , ISSUE 1 ( April, 2014 ) > List of Articles

Original Article

Can the material properties of regenerate bone be predicted with non-invasive methods of assessment? Exploring the correlation between dual X-ray absorptiometry and compression testing to failure in an animal model of distraction osteogenesis

Fergal Monsell, Andrew William Hughes, James Turner, Michael C. Bellemore, Lynne Bilston

Keywords : Distraction osteogenesis, DXA, Bone mineral density, Animal model

Citation Information : Monsell F, Hughes AW, Turner J, Bellemore MC, Bilston L. Can the material properties of regenerate bone be predicted with non-invasive methods of assessment? Exploring the correlation between dual X-ray absorptiometry and compression testing to failure in an animal model of distraction osteogenesis. 2014; 9 (1):45-51.

DOI: 10.1007/s11751-014-0188-9

License: CC BY-NC-SA 4.0

Published Online: 01-06-2018

Copyright Statement:  Copyright © 2014; The Author(s).


Evaluation of the material properties of regenerate bone is of fundamental importance to a successful outcome following distraction osteogenesis using an external fixator. Plain radiographs are in widespread use for assessment of alignment and the distraction gap but are unable to detect bone formation in the early stages of distraction osteogenesis and do not quantify accurately the structural properties of the regenerate. Dual X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) is a widely available non-invasive imaging modality that, unlike X-ray, can be used to measure bone mineral content (BMC) and density quantitatively. In order to be useful as a clinical investigation; however, the structural two-dimensional geometry and density distributions assessed by DXA should reflect material properties such as modulus and also predict the structural mechanical properties of the regenerate bone formed. We explored the hypothesis that there is a relationship between DXA assessment of regenerate bone and structural mechanical properties in an animal model of distraction osteogenesis. Distraction osteogenesis was carried out on the tibial diaphysis of 41 male, 12 week old, New Zealand white rabbits as part of a larger study. Distraction started after a latent period of 24 h at a rate of 0.375 mm every 12 h and continued for 10-days, achieving average lengthening of 7.1 mm. Following an 18-day period of consolidation, the regenerate bone was subject to bone density measurements using a total body dual-energy X-ray densitometer. This produced measurement of BMC, bone mineral density (BMD) and volumetric bone mineral density (vBMD). The tibiae were then disarticulated and cleaned of soft tissue before loading in compression to failure using an Instron mechanical testing machine (Instron Corporation, Massachusetts USA). Using Spearman rank correlation and linear regression, there was a significant correlation between vBMD and the Modulus of Elasticity, Yield Stress and Failure Stress of the bone. No correlation was seen between BMC, BMD, vBMR and any mechanical parameter. DXA is a promising tool for the assessment of regenerate bone formed by DO during limb lengthening and requires further investigation.

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