Osteoporosis International

, Volume 18, Issue 7, pp 991–997 | Cite as

Tibial geometry is associated with failure load ex vivo: a MRI, pQCT and DXA study

  • D. Liu
  • S. L. Manske
  • S. A. Kontulainen
  • C. Tang
  • P. Guy
  • T. R. Oxland
  • H. A. McKay
Original Article



We studied the relations between bone geometry and density and the mechanical properties of human cadaveric tibiae. Bone geometry, assessed by MRI and pQCT, and bone density, assessed by DXA, were significantly associated with bone’s mechanical properties. However, cortical density assessed by pQCT was not associated with mechanical properties.


The primary objective of this study was to determine the contribution of cross-sectional geometry (by MRI and pQCT) and density (by pQCT and DXA) to mechanical properties of the human cadaveric tibia.


We assessed 20 human cadaveric tibiae. Bone cross-sectional geometry variables (total area, cortical area, and section modulus) were measured with MRI and pQCT. Cortical density and areal BMD were measured with pQCT and DXA, respectively. The specimens were tested to failure in a four-point bending apparatus. Coefficients of determination between imaging variables of interest and mechanical properties were determined.


Cross-sectional geometry measurements from MRI and pQCT were strongly correlated with bone mechanical properties (r2 range from 0.55 to 0.85). Bone cross-sectional geometry measured by MRI explained a proportion of variance in mechanical properties similar to that explained by pQCT bone cross-sectional geometry measurements and DXA measurements.


We found that there was a close association between geometry and mechanical properties regardless of the imaging modality (MRI or pQCT) used.


Bone strength Fracture Magnetic resonance imaging Peripheral quantitative computed tomography Tibia diaphysis 



We thank Sylvia Renneberg and Jennifer McCord for conducting the MRI measurements. We also thank Dr. David ML Cooper for his review of the manuscript. Financial support to conduct the study was provided by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Natural Science and Engineering Council of Canada and the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research to whom we are grateful.


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Copyright information

© International Osteoporosis Foundation and National Osteoporosis Foundation 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • D. Liu
    • 1
  • S. L. Manske
    • 1
    • 4
  • S. A. Kontulainen
    • 1
    • 5
  • C. Tang
    • 1
  • P. Guy
    • 1
  • T. R. Oxland
    • 1
    • 2
  • H. A. McKay
    • 1
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of OrthopaedicsUniversity of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada
  2. 2.Department of Mechanical EngineeringUniversity of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada
  3. 3.Department of Family PracticeUniversity of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada
  4. 4.Faculty of KinesiologyUniversity of CalgaryCalgaryCanada
  5. 5.College of KinesiologyUniversity of SaskatchewanSaskatoonCanada

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