A comparison, using X-ray micro-computed tomography, of the architecture of cancellous bone from the cervical, thoracic and lumbar spine using 240 vertebral bodies from 10 body donors
The vertebral trabecular bone has a complex three-dimensional microstructure with an inhomogeneous morphology. Correct identification and assessment of the weakest segments of the cancellous bone may lead to better prediction of fracture risk. The aim of this study was to compare cancellous bone from 240 vertebrae of the cervical, thoracic and lumbar spine of ten body donors with osteoporosis in regard to bone volume fraction (BVF), trabecular thickness, separation, trabecular number and degree of anisotropy, to ascertain why cervical vertebrae rarely fracture, even with severe osteoporosis. Samples were obtained from all vertebrae with a Jamshidi needle (8 Gauge). The investigations were performed with a micro-computed tomography (micro-CT) device (SKYSCAN 1172, RJL Micro & Analytic GmbH, Karlsdorf-Neuthard, Germany). Existing vertebral fractures and the bone mineral density of the lumbar spine were assessed with quantitative CT. Regarding the micro-CT parameters, statistically significant differences were observed between the various sections of the spine. We found a higher BVF, trabecular number and trabecular thickness, as well as a lower trabecular separation of the cervical vertebrae compared to other vertebrae. In addition, the degree of anisotropy in the cervical spine is lower than in the other spinal column sections. These results are age and sex dependent. Thus, the cervical spine has special structural features, whose causes must be determined in further investigations.
Materials and Methods
Conflicts of Interest