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Nanoindentation study and quantitative backscattered electron imaging of Human cortical bone Soares Silva, Leandro De Macedo


Bone fracture is a burden for health care and especially for individuals suffering the consequences of fracture. Osteoporosis reduces bone mass and increases the likelihood of fracture as it causes bone thinning and increases porosity. The understanding of Peripheral Quantitative Computed Tomography (pQCT), a clinical tool used in bone health diagnosis to assess bone quality, requires an evaluation of bone mineral content (BMC) and porosity distribution across the cortex. This new analysis is introduced in this work. Cortical bone quality depends on three factors: material properties, BMC and degree of porosity. Two key techniques were used to characterize bone structure and properties. Nanoindentation equipped with continuous stiffness measurement (CSM) allows depth-dependence measurement of material properties (elastic and viscoelastic). Quantitative Backscattered Electron Imaging (qBSEi) is a microscopy technique capable of quantifying the BMC and the porosity of bone tissue. Seventeen human cortical tibiae specimens, ranging from 67 to 88 years old, were used in this study. The results on nanoindentation and qBSEi and their correlation to pQCT data will be presented along with a statistical analysis. The material properties of bone were intrinsically dependent on measurement conditions and water content had an important role in bone mechanics. Moistening bone reduced the elastic modulus and hardness and increased its viscoelasticity. The elastic modulus of bone increased with increasing BMC. In the bone microstructure, interstitial bone was more mineralized than osteonal bone, and thus had higher elastic modulus. The elastic modulus of bone varied across the cortex; however, the central part of cortical bone remained uniform. The BMC distribution across the cortex was statistically uniform. The degree of porosity in bone greatly influenced the pQCT measurement of apparent density; while BMC did not contribute as much as porosity. It is concluded that even though the bone mineral content appeared as an indicator of bone quality at the microscale level, it becomes less obvious at the macroscale level. At this level porosity becomes the major factor affecting bone density.

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