Finite element modeling of the microarchitecture of cancellous bone: Techniques and applications

Amit Gefen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Cancellous bone is a complex structure with mechanical behavior that is affected by bone tissue-level mechanical properties as well as by the shape of trabeculae, their spatial arrangement, and their level of connectivity. The increasing public health threat of osteoporosis motivates investigations of the mechanical behavior of cancellous bone with particular emphasis on characterizing its stiffness and strength as function of its tissue-level properties and microarchitectural structure. The small scale at which mechanical phenomena occur in cancellous bone (100-1000 µm) limits experimental work. Thus, finite element modeling became a superior tool for studying load-bearing phenomena at the trabecular scale. This chapter describes modeling techniques and provides examples for finite element simulations of load-bearing conditions in cancellous bone microarchitecture. After discussing some general considerations in modeling the geometry and mechanical properties of cancellous bone, the two dominant modeling approaches, micro-imaging-based modeling and generic lattice modeling, are reviewed. The single-trabecula building-block, a standard (generic) model component for largescale finite element models of cancellous bone, is employed here to study several loadbearing phenomena in normal and osteoporotic cancellous bone, including studies of the apparent compression behavior of cancellous bone, the strain inhomogeneity in individual trabeculae, and buckling behavior of trabeculae.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationBiomechanical Systems Technology
Subtitle of host publicationMuscular Skeletal Systems
PublisherWorld Scientific Publishing Co.
Number of pages40
ISBN (Electronic)9789812771384
ISBN (Print)9812707980, 9789812709837
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2009


  • Osteoporosis
  • Spongy bone
  • Tissue mechanical properties
  • Trabeculae
  • Trabecular bone mechanics


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