Osteoprobe (ActiveLife, Santa Barbara, CA) is a novel handheld microindentation instrument designed to test bone in vivo by measuring a Bone Material Strength index (BMSi). In this paper, the Osteoprobe indentation on a cortical bone is modeled computationally to gain insights into the physical interpretation of the BMSi output. The analysis is conducted using an axisymmetric finite element model with an isotropic viscoelastic-plastic constitutive law with continuum damage. The computational model is validated by comparing it with experimental data from the literature. Experimental factors (indenter tip radius and friction coefficient between the indenter and the bone) and four mechanical properties of bone (Young's modulus, compressive yield stress, and damage and viscosity constants) are varied to study their influence on the BMSi. We find that varying the friction coefficient can proportionally change the BMSi up to 3%. The indenter tip radius is proportional to the BMSi, with a more pronounced proportional relation when it is greater than 30 µm. Young's modulus has a proportional relation with the BMSi, where decreasing it by 73% reduces the BMSi by 41%. The damage constant has an inversely proportional relation to the BMSi, where increasing it from 0.5 to 0.96 reduces the BMSi by 29%. The compressive yield stress and the viscosity constant have a close proportional relation to the BMSi, where increasing the compressive yield stress from 50 MPa to 200 MPa increases the Osteoprobe BMSi by 21%. In summary, the friction coefficient and the indenter tip radius (when smaller than 30 µm) have a small effect on BMSi. Young's modulus and damage have stronger relations with the BMSi than compressive yield stress and viscosity constant. This fundamental study provides new insights into the BMSi measurement and serves as a basis for further computational and experimental investigations on the Osteoprobe technique. Such research is needed to facilitate the embrace of this technique by the clinical community.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)365-373
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of the Mechanical Behavior of Biomedical Materials
StatePublished - Feb 2019


  • Bone fracture
  • Bone strength
  • Cortical bone
  • Finite element method
  • Osteoprobe
  • Reference Point Indentation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomaterials
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Mechanics of Materials


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