ASSESSMENT OF OSTEOPOROTIC FEMORAL FRACTURE RISK: FINITE ELEMENT METHOD AS A POTENTIAL REPLACEMENT FOR CURRENT CLINICAL TECHNIQUES
Femoral fracture risk prediction is a necessary step preceding effective pharmacological intervention or pre-operative planning. Current clinical methods for fracture risk prediction rely on 2D imaging methods and have limited predictive value. Researchers are therefore trying to find improved methods for fracture prediction. During last few decades, many studies have focused on integration of 3D imaging techniques and the finite element (FE) method to improve the accuracy of fracture assessment techniques. In this paper, we review the recent advances in FE and other techniques for predicting the risk of femoral fractures. Based on a number of selected studies, the different steps that are involved in generation of patient-specific FE models are reviewed with particular emphasis on the fracture criteria. The inaccuracies that might arise due to the imperfections of the involved steps are also discussed. It is concluded that compared to image- and geometry-based techniques, FE is a more promising approach for prediction of fracture loads. However, certain technological advancements in FE modeling protocols are required before FE modeling can be recruited in clinical settings.