Proximal cadaveric femur preparation for fracture strength testing and quantitative CT-based finite element analysis

Dan Dragomir-Daescu, Asghar Rezaei, Susheil Uthamaraj, Timothy Rossman, James T. Bronk, Mark Bolander, Vincent Lambert, Sean McEligot, Rachel Entwistle, Hugo Giambini, Iwona Jasiuk, Michael J. Yaszemski, Lichun Lu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Cadaveric fracture testing is routinely used to understand factors that affect proximal femur strength. Because ex vivo biological tissues are prone to lose their mechanical properties over time, specimen preparation for experimental testing must be performed carefully to obtain reliable results that represent in vivo conditions. For that reason, we designed a protocol and a set of fixtures to prepare the femoral specimens such that their mechanical properties experienced minimal changes. The femora were kept in a frozen state except during preparation steps and mechanical testing. The relevant clinical measures of total hip and femoral neck bone mineral density (BMD) were obtained with a clinical dual X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) bone densitometer, and the 3D geometry and distribution of bone mineral were obtained using CT with a calibration phantom for quantitative estimations based on the greyscale values. Any possible bone disease, fracture, or the presence of implants or artifacts affecting the bone structure, was ruled out with X-ray scans. For preparation, all bones were carefully cleaned of excess soft tissue, and were cut and potted at the internal rotation angle of interest. A cutting fixture allowed the distal end of the bone to be cut off leaving the proximal femur at a desired length. To allow positioning of the femoral neck at prescribed angles during later CT scanning and mechanical testing, the proximal femoral shafts were potted in polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA) using a fixture designed specifically for desired orientations. The data collected from our experiments were then used for validation of quantitative computed tomography (QCT)-based finite element analysis (FEA), as described in a different protocol. In this manuscript, we present the protocol for the precise bone preparation for mechanical testing and subsequent QCT/FEA modeling. The current protocol was successfully applied to prepare about 200 cadaveric femora over a 6-year time period.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere54925
JournalJournal of Visualized Experiments
Issue number121
StatePublished - Mar 11 2017


  • Biomechanics
  • Bone fracture
  • Bone preparation protocol
  • Fall on the hip
  • Fixture design
  • Hip
  • Issue 121
  • Medicine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience
  • General Chemical Engineering
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Immunology and Microbiology


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