Inter-sex differences in structural properties of aging femora: implications on differential bone fragility: a cadaver study


In this paper we examined age-related and sex-specific deterioration in bone strength of the proximal femur reflected in mechanical properties from dual energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA)-based hip structural analysis (HSA) on a cadaveric sample from the Balkans. Cadaveric studies permit more precise measurement of HSA parameters and allow further analyses by micromorphometric methods. DXA and HSA analysis was performed on a total of 138 cadaveric proximal femora (63 female, 75 male, age range 20–101 years) from Belgrade. HSA parameters are reported for three standard regions of the proximal femur (narrow neck, intertrochanteric, and shaft). Major age-related findings include an increase in the radius of gyration (first reported in this study), a decline in the cross-sectional area (CSA), a shift in the centroid towards the medial cortex, higher buckling ratios and lower section moduli. Whereas age appears to affect mostly the neck region in men, weakening is also evident in the intertrochanteric region in women, particularly after the age of 80. Aging femoral neck declines in bending strength and increases in buckling susceptibility. The reduced bone mass tends to be distributed farther from the centroidal axis (increase in radius of gyration with decline in CSA). Bone mass is preferentially lost from the lateral part of the cross-section shifting the centroid towards the medial cortex which may increase fragility of the lateral part during fall impact. Results of this study contribute to the epidemiologic data on gender differences and age trends in aging male and female femora.


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