Analysis of microstructural and mechanical alterations of trabecular bone in a simulated three-dimensional remodeling process

Hong Wang, Baohua Ji*, X. Sherry Liu, X. Edward Guo, Yonggang Huang, Keh Chih Hwang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Bone remodeling is a complex dynamic process, which modulates both bone mass and bone microstructure. In addition to bone mass, bone microstructure is an important contributor to bone quality in osteoporosis and fragility fractures. However, the quantitative knowledge of evolution of three-dimensional (3D) trabecular microstructure in adaptation to the external forces is currently limited. In this study, a new 3D simulation method of remodeling of human trabecular bone was developed to quantitatively study the dynamic evolution of bone mass and trabecular microstructure in response to different external loading conditions. The morphological features of trabecular plate and rod, such as thickness and number density in different orientations were monitored during the remodeling process using a novel imaging analysis technique, namely Individual Trabecula Segmentation (ITS). We showed that the volume fraction and microstructures of trabecular bone including, trabecular type and orientation, were determined by the applied mechanical load. Particularly, the morphological parameters of trabecular plates were more sensitive to the applied load, indicating that they played the major role in the mechanical properties of the trabecular bone. Reducing the applied load caused severe microstructural deteriorations of trabecular bone, such as trabecular plate perforation, rod breakage, and a conversion from plates to rods.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2417-2425
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Biomechanics
Issue number14
StatePublished - Sep 21 2012


  • Bone remodeling
  • Finite element method
  • Individual trabecula segmentation
  • Three dimensional model
  • Trabecular plate and rod

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Rehabilitation


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