Mechanical torque measurement in the proximal femur correlates to failure load and bone mineral density ex vivo

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Stefan Grote *
Tatjana Noeldeke
Michael Blauth
Wolf Mutschler
Dominik Bürklein
(*) Corresponding Author:
Stefan Grote |


Knowledge of local bone quality is essential for surgeons to determine operation techniques. A device for intraoperative measurement of local bone quality has been developed by the AO-Research Foundation (DensiProbe®). We used this device to experimentally measure peak breakaway torque of trabecular bone in the proximal femur and correlated this with local bone mineral density (BMD) and failure load. Bone mineral density of 160 cadaver femurs was measured by ex situ dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry. The failure load of all femurs was analyzed by side-impact analysis. Femur fractures were fixed and mechanical peak torque was measured with the DensiProbe® device. Correlation was calculated whereas correlation coefficient and significance was calculated by Fisher’s Z-transformation. Moreover, linear regression analysis was carried out. The unpaired Student’s t-test was used to assess the significance of differences. The Ward triangle region had the lowest BMD with 0.511 g/cm2 (±0.17 g/cm2), followed by the upper neck region with 0.546 g/cm2 (±0.16 g/cm2), trochanteric region with 0.685 g/cm2 (±0.19 g/cm2) and the femoral neck with 0.813 g/cm2 (±0.2 g/cm2). Peak torque of DensiProbe® in the femoral head was 3.48 Nm (±2.34 Nm). Load to failure was 4050.2 N (±1586.7 N). The highest correlation of peak torque measured by Densi Probe® and load to failure was found in the femoral neck (r=0.64, P<0.001). The overall correlation of mechanical peak torque with T-score was r=0.60 (P<0.001). A correlation was found between mechanical peak torque, load to failure of bone and BMD in vitro. Trabecular strength of bone and bone mineral density are different aspects of bone strength, but a correlation was found between them. Mechanical peak torque as measured may contribute additional information about bone strength, especially in the perioperative testing.

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