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Computational and Mathematical Methods in Medicine
Volume 2016 (2016), Article ID 3495152, 12 pages
Research Article

Modeling the Mechanical Consequences of Age-Related Trabecular Bone Loss by XFEM Simulation

1Department of Engineering Mechanics, Jilin University, Nanling Campus, Changchun 130025, China
2Department of Automobile and Construction Engineering, Beihua University, Jilin 132013, China
3Hand & Foot Surgery and Reparative & Reconstructive Surgery Center, No. 2 Hospital of Jilin University, Changchun 130025, China
4Department of Traumatic Orthopedics, The First Hospital of Jilin University, Changchun 130025, China

Received 18 January 2016; Accepted 23 May 2016

Academic Editor: Thierry Busso

Copyright © 2016 Ruoxun Fan et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The elderly are more likely to suffer from fracture because of age-related trabecular bone loss. Different bone loss locations and patterns have different effects on bone mechanical properties. Extended finite element method (XFEM) can simulate fracture process and was suited to investigate the effects of bone loss on trabecular bone. Age-related bone loss is indicated by trabecular thinning and loss and may occur at low-strain locations or other random sites. Accordingly, several ideal normal and aged trabecular bone models were created based on different bone loss locations and patterns; then, fracture processes from crack initiation to complete failure of these models were observed by XFEM; finally, the effects of different locations and patterns on trabecular bone were compared. Results indicated that bone loss occurring at low-strain locations was more detrimental to trabecular bone than that occurring at other random sites; meanwhile, the decrease in bone strength caused by trabecular loss was higher than that caused by trabecular thinning, and the effects of vertical trabecular loss on mechanical properties were more severe than horizontal trabecular loss. This study provided a numerical method to simulate trabecular bone fracture and distinguished different effects of the possible occurrence of bone loss locations and patterns on trabecular bone.