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Accuracy of specimen-specific nonlinear finite element analysis for evaluation of distal radius strength in cadaver material

  • Original Article
  • Published:
Journal of Orthopaedic Science



Distal radius fracture, which often occurs in the setting of osteoporosis, can lead to permanent deformity and disability. Great effort has been directed toward developing noninvasive methods for evaluating the distal radius strength, with the goal of assessing fracture risk. The aim of this study was to evaluate distal radius strength using a finite element model and to gauge the accuracy of finite element model measurement using cadaver material.


Ten wrists were obtained from cadavers with a mean age of 89.5 years at death. CT images of each wrist in an extended position were obtained. CT-based finite element models were prepared with Mechanical Finder software. Fracture on the models was simulated by applying a mechanical load to the palm in a direction parallel to the forearm axis, after which the fracture load and the site at which the fracture began were identified. For comparison, the wrists were fractured using a universal testing machine and the fracture load and the site of fracture were identified.


The fracture load was 970.9 N in the finite element model group and 990.0 N in the actual measurement group. The site of the initial fracture was extra-articular to the distal radius in both groups. The finite element model was predictive for distal radius fracture when compared to the actual measurement.


In this study, a finite element model for evaluation of distal radius strength was validated and can be used to predict fracture risk. We conclude that a finite element model is useful for the evaluation of distal radius strength. Knowing distal radius strength might avoid distal radius fracture because appropriate antiosteoporotic treatment can be initiated.

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We thank Chisato Mori, Kenji Tsubota, Ryo Hiwatari, Kenichi Murakami, Ken Hashimoto, Seiji Okamoto, Masataka Shibayama, Tomoko Kobayashi, Nahoko Iwakura, Noriyuki Yanagawa, Naoki Hara, Hideyuki Mimata, Shigeru Matsunaga, Ayako Takiguchi, and all of the radiorogists for technical assistance.

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The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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Correspondence to Yusuke Matsuura.

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Matsuura, Y., Kuniyoshi, K., Suzuki, T. et al. Accuracy of specimen-specific nonlinear finite element analysis for evaluation of distal radius strength in cadaver material. J Orthop Sci 19, 1012–1018 (2014).

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