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The Bone Mineral Content and Ultimate Compressive Strength of Lumbar Vertebrae


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The bone mineral content of 109 lumbar vertebrae from 36 different subjects was determined by dual photon absorptiometry. The mean age of the subjects was 58.5 years (range, 31 to 79 years). The ultimate strength of the vertebral bodies was determined during axial compression. Bone mineral content and ultimate compressive strength were correlated (r = 0.86) and the strength was found to increase linearly with increasing amounts of bone mineral content. No differences in this correlation were found in the four vertebral levels (L1–4) included in the study, but a difference in this correlation was found between specimens taken from male and female subjects. The results make it possible to estimate the strength of a vertebral body from the knowledge of its bone mineral content as determined by dual photon absorptiometry and provide a basis for estimations of normal and abnormal amounts of bone mineral content in the vertebrae of the lumbar spine.

*From the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Sahlgren Hospital, Göteborg, Sweden

†From the Department of Radiation Physics, Sahlgren Hospital, Göteborg, Sweden

© Lippincott-Raven Publishers.