A predictive model for creep deformation following vertebral compression fractures
Many vertebral compression fractures continue to collapse over time, resulting in spinal deformity and chronic back pain. Currently, there is no adequate screening strategy to identify patients at risk of progressive vertebral collapse. This study developed a mathematical model to describe the quantitative relationship between initial bone damage and progressive ("creep") deformation in human vertebrae. The model uses creep rate before damage, and the degree of vertebral bone damage, to predict creep rate following bone damage. Mechanical testing data were obtained from 27 vertebral trabeculae samples, and 38 motion segments, from 26 human spines. These were analysed to evaluate bone damage intensity, and creep rates before and after damage, in order to estimate the model parameter, p, which represents how bone damage affects the change of creep rate after damage. Results of the model showed that p was 1.38 (R2 = 0.72, p < 0.001) for vertebral trabeculae, and 1.48 for motion segments (R2 = 0.22, p = 0.003). These values were not significantly different from each other (P > 0.05). Further analyses revealed that p was not significantly influenced by cortical bone damage, endplate damage, disc degeneration, vertebral size, or vertebral areal bone mineral density (aBMD) (P > 0.05). The key determinant of creep deformation following vertebral compression fracture was the degree of trabecular bone damage. Bone damage intensity can be measured on routine clinical images, so the proposed model could be used to develop a screening tool to predict progressive vertebral collapse following compression fracture.
- Trauma and Orthopaedics