Effect of size and location of simulated lytic lesions on the structural properties of human vertebral bodies, a micro-finite element study

Graphical Abstract

The study of the risk of fractures in cancer patients with spine metastases is important to improve the quality of life of patients. Currently, the risk of fracture in these patients is evaluated using clinical scoring systems that account for information about the location of the cancer, the pain, and other qualitative factors.

While this approach is the best that can be done in clinics right now, it does not always provide a clear guideline for the treatment of some patients. The aim of this study was to develop an engineering tool that could help in the long term to improve these scoring systems, by including parameters about the size and position of the metastases. For doing this, an approach that converts high-resolution images of the human vertebrae into a biomechanical model has been developed and the criticality of single or multiple lesions with different size and in different positions on the bone resistance to fracture has been developed. The results of these computational models showed that the size of the lesions had a dominant effect on the bone mechanical properties compared to the location of the lesions within the spine. This study highlights the potential of computational models to study the effect of lesions on the mechanical properties of the human vertebral body and how this information can be used in future to improve clinical tools.

Costa, M. C., Bresani Campello, L. B., Ryan, M., Rochester, J., Viceconti, M., Dall’Ara, D. (2020), “Effect of size and location of simulated lytic lesions on the structural properties of human vertebral bodies, a micro-finite element study”, Bone Reports, 12, 100257.

URL: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bonr.2020.100257