L2 BONE QUALITY IN OSTEOPOROSIS: BIOMED 1 REVISITED
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As a part of the European Union BIOMED I study “Assessment of Bone Quality in Osteoporosis,” Sixty-nine second lumbar vertebral body specimens (L2) were obtained post mortem from 32 women and 37 men (age 24–92 years). Our initial remit was to study variations in density of the calcified tissues by quantitative backscattered electron imaging (BSE-SEM). To this end, the para-sagittal bone slices were embedded in PMMA and block surfaces micro-milled and carbon coated. Many samples were re-polished to remove the carbon coat and stained with iodine vapour to permit simultaneous BSE imaging of non-mineralised tissues - especially disc, annulus, cartilage and ligament - uncoated, at 50Pa chamber pressure. We have now studied most of these samples by 30-μm resolution high contrast resolution X-ray microtomography (XMT), typically 72 hours scanning time, thus giving exact correlation between high resolution BSE-SEM and XMT. The 3D XMT data sets were rendered using Drishti software to produce static and movie images for visualisation and edification. We have now selected a set of the female samples for reconstruction by 3D printing - taking as examples the youngest, post-menopausal, oldest, best, worst, and anterior and central compression fractures and anterior collapse with fusion to L3 - which will be attached to the poster display. The most porotic cases were also the most difficult to reconstruct. A surprising proportion of elderly samples showed excellent bone architecture, though with retention of fewer, but more massive, load-bearing trabeculae.
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