Bone microarchitecture of the tibial plateau in skeletal health and osteoporosis

Matthias Krause, Jan Hubert, Simon Deymann, Alexander Hapfelmeier, Birgit Wulff, Andreas Petersik, Klaus Püschel, Michael Amling, Thelonius Hawellek, Karl Heinz Frosch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Background: Impaired bone structure poses a challenge for the treatment of osteoporotic tibial plateau fractures. As knowledge of region-specific structural bone alterations is a prerequisite to achieving successful long-term fixation, the aim of the current study was to characterize tibial plateau bone structure in patients with osteoporosis and the elderly. Methods: Histomorphometric parameters were assessed by high-resolution peripheral quantitative computed tomography (HR-pQCT) in 21 proximal tibiae from females with postmenopausal osteoporosis (mean age: 84.3 ± 4.9 years) and eight female healthy controls (45.5 ± 6.9 years). To visualize region-specific structural bony alterations with age, the bone mineral density (Hounsfield units) was additionally analyzed in 168 human proximal tibiae. Statistical analysis was based on evolutionary learning using globally optimal regression trees. Results: Bone structure deterioration of the tibial plateau due to osteoporosis was region-specific. Compared to healthy controls (20.5 ± 4.7%) the greatest decrease in bone volume fraction was found in the medio-medial segments (9.2 ± 3.5%, p < 0.001). The lowest bone volume was found in central segments (tibial spine). Trabecular connectivity was severely reduced. Importantly, in the anterior and posterior 25% of the lateral and medial tibial plateaux, trabecular support and subchondral cortical bone thickness itself were also reduced. Conclusion: Thinning of subchondral cortical bone and marked bone loss in the anterior and posterior 25% of the tibial plateau should require special attention when osteoporotic patients require fracture fixation of the posterior segments. This knowledge may help to improve the long-term, fracture-specific fixation of complex tibial plateau fractures in osteoporosis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)559-567
Number of pages9
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Bone microarchitecture
  • HR-pQCT
  • Osteoporosis
  • Tibial plateau fracture


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