Purpose of Review: The mechanical integrity of bone is determined by the direct measurement of bone mechanical properties. This article presents an overview of the current, most common, and new and upcoming experimental approaches for the mechanical characterization of bone. The key outcome variables of mechanical testing, as well as interpretations of the results in the context of bone structure and biology are also discussed. Recent Findings: Quasi-static tests are the most commonly used for determining the resistance to structural failure by a single load at the organ (whole bone) level. The resistance to crack initiation or growth by fracture toughness testing and fatigue loading offers additional and more direct characterization of tissue material properties. Non-traditional indentation techniques and in situ testing are being increasingly used to probe the material properties of bone ultrastructure. Summary: Destructive ex vivo testing or clinical surrogate measures are considered to be the gold standard for estimating fracture risk. The type of mechanical test used for a particular investigation depends on the length scale of interest, where the outcome variables are influenced by the interrelationship between bone structure and composition. Advancement in the sensitivity of mechanical characterization techniques to detect changes in bone at the levels subjected to modifications by aging, disease, and/or pharmaceutical treatment is required. As such, a number of techniques are now available to aid our understanding of the factors that contribute to fracture risk.
- Bone fracture
- Mechanical test