Volume to density relation in adult human bone tissue

Simone Tassani, Caroline Öhman, Fabio Baruffaldi, Massimiliano Baleani, Marco Viceconti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Uniformity of tissue mineralisation is a strongly debated issue, due to its relation with bone mechanical behaviour. Bone mineral density (BMD) is measured in the clinical practice and is applied in computational application to derive material proprieties of bone tissue. However, BMD cannot identify if the variation in bone density is related to a modification of tissue mineral density (TMD), a change in bone volume or a combination of the two. This study was aimed to investigate whether TMD can be assumed as a constant in adult human bone (trabecular and cortical). A total number of 115 cylindrical bone specimens were collected. An inter-site analysis (96 specimens, 2 donors) was performed on cortical and trabecular specimens extracted from different anatomical sites. An intra-site study (19 specimens, 19 donors) was performed on specimens extracted from femoral heads. Bone volume fraction (BV/TV) was computed by means of a micro-computed tomography. Furthermore, ash density (ρash) was measured. TMD was computed as the ratio between ρash and BV/TV. It was found that the TMD of trabecular (1.24±0.16g/cm3) and cortical (1.19±0.06g/cm3) bone were not statistically different (p=0.31). Furthermore, the linear regression between ρash and BV/TV was statistically significant (r2=0.99, p

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)103-108
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Biomechanics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 4 2011


  • Ash density
  • Bone fraction
  • Cortical bone
  • Tissue mineral density
  • Trabecular bone

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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