Annals of Biomedical Engineering

, Volume 39, Issue 3, pp 1092–1100 | Cite as

The Impact of Voxel Size-Based Inaccuracies on the Mechanical Behavior of Thin Bone Structures

  • Asmaa Maloul
  • Jeffrey Fialkov
  • Cari Whyne


Computed tomography (CT)-based measures of skeletal geometry and material properties have been widely used to develop finite element (FE) models of bony structures. However, in the case of thin bone structures, the ability to develop FE models with accurate geometry derived from clinical CT data presents a challenge due to the thinness of the bone and the limited resolution of the imaging devices. The purpose of this study was to quantify the impact of voxel size on the thickness and intensity values of thin bone structure measurements and to assess the effect of voxel size on strains through FE modeling. Cortical bone thickness and material properties in five thin bone specimens were quantified at voxel sizes ranging from 16.4 to 488 μm. The measurements derived from large voxel size scans showed large increases in cortical thickness (61.9–252.2%) and large decreases in scan intensity (12.9–49.5%). Maximum principal strains from FE models generated using scans at 488 μm were decreased as compared to strains generated at 16.4 μm voxel size (8.6–64.2%). A higher level of significance was found in comparing intensity (p = 0.0001) vs. thickness (p = 0.005) to strain measurements. These findings have implications in developing methods to generate accurate FE models to predict the biomechanical behavior of thin bone structures.


μCT Finite element modeling Craniofacial bone Thickness Image intensity Strain 



The authors would like to thank Dr. Alex Kiss for assisting in determining the appropriate statistical analyses for this study. They also would like to acknowledge the use of the High Performance Facility at the Centre for Computational Biology at the Hospital for Sick Children for the computational analyses. This work was financially supported by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada and the Osteosynthesis and Trauma Care Foundation.


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Copyright information

© Biomedical Engineering Society 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Orthopaedic Biomechanics Laboratory, UB19Sunnybrook Health Sciences CentreTorontoCanada
  2. 2.Division of Plastic SurgerySunnybrook Health Sciences CentreTorontoCanada

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