Background: A main purpose of osteoporosis diagnosis is to evaluate the bone fracture risk. Some bone mass indices evaluated using bone mineral density has been utilized clinically to assess the degree of osteoporosis. On the other hand, Computed tomography image based finite element analysis has been developed to evaluate bone strength of vertebral bodies. The strength of a vertebra is defined as the load at the onset of compressive fracture. The objective of this study was therefore to propose a new feasible method to combine the advantages of the two osteoporotic indices such as the bone mass index and the bone strength. Methods: Three-dimensional finite element models of 246 vertebral bodies from 88 patients were constructed using the computed tomography images. Finite element analysis was then conducted to evaluate their strength values. The Pearson's correlation analysis was also conducted between the vertebral strength and bone mass indices. Findings: It was found that relatively weak positive correlations existed between the strength and the bone mass indices. A new assessment method was then proposed by combining the strength and the bone mass index. “high risk zone” corresponding to low strength with normal bone mass was found from the assessment method. Interpretation: Singe bone mass index cannot predict the fracture risk with high standard. The results of fracture risk assessment conducted by the new method clearly indicated the necessity and effectiveness to take both the strength and the bone mass index into account.
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