Mechanical Biomarkers in Bone Using Image-Based Finite Element Analysis

Hannah L. Dailey, Mariana E. Kersh, Caitlyn J. Collins, Karen L. Troy

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Purpose of Review: The purpose of this review is to summarize insights gained by finite element (FE) model-based mechanical biomarkers of bone for in vivo assessment of bone development and adaptation, fracture risk, and fracture healing. Recent Findings: Muscle-driven FE models have been used to establish correlations between prenatal strains and morphological development. Postnatal ontogenetic studies have identified potential origins of bone fracture risk and quantified the mechanical environment during stereotypical locomotion and in response to increased loading. FE-based virtual mechanical tests have been used to assess fracture healing with higher fidelity than the current clinical standard; here, virtual torsion test data was a better predictor of torsional rigidity than morphometric measures or radiographic scores. Virtual mechanical biomarkers of strength have also been used to deepen the insights from both preclinical and clinical studies with predictions of strength of union at different stages of healing and reliable predictions of time to healing. Summary: Image-based FE models allow for noninvasive measurement of mechanical biomarkers in bone and have emerged as powerful tools for translational research on bone. More work to develop nonirradiating imaging techniques and validate models of bone during particularly dynamic phases (e.g., during growth and the callus region during fracture healing) will allow for continued progress in our understanding of how bone responds along the lifespan.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)266-277
Number of pages12
JournalCurrent Osteoporosis Reports
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2023


  • Bone
  • Finite element analysis
  • Imaging
  • Quantitative

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism


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