Risk of fracture in elderly patients: A new predictive index based on bone mineral density and finite element analysis

D. Testi, M. Viceconti, F. Baruffaldi, A. Cappello

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Hip fracture is more and more frequent in elderly population. For this reason, an increasing attention has been focused on the development of a non- invasive method to predict femoral neck fracture. A conventional approach to fracture diagnosis is the measurement of bone mass by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry in some regions of interest. The aim of this work is to assess a method that accounts for the structural details of the bone providing a more direct determination of strength properties, and improving the diagnostic power of the current densitometric systems. A 2D finite element model of the proximal femur is derived from dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry data. Initially, the method is validated in vitro using a replica of the human femur. The predicted results are compared to strain-gauge measurements and to a 3D finite element model, with good agreement being observed. Then, an in vivo preliminary study on a limited group of patients is carried out. The loading condition that simulates a fall to the side onto the greater trochanter from standing height is employed. All simulations show a peak strain at the femoral neck region with a strain distribution typical of a fall on the side. The proposed method seems to supply a useful tool for the in vivo analysis of the risk of hip fracture.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)23-33
Number of pages11
JournalComputer Methods and Programs in Biomedicine
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jul 1999



  • Dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry
  • Femur fracture
  • Finite element models

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software

Cite this