A scanning electron microscopic study of trabeculae in osteoporotic femoral head.
OBJECTIVE: To investigate osteoclastic resorption in trabeculae of osteoporotic femoral head. METHODS: Osteoporotic femoral heads were collected from 7 aged women with an average age of 72.4 years, who underwent endoprosthetic replacement for intracapsular hip fracture. Femoral head trabeculae from 3 young adults killed in traffic accidents served as control. The two types of specimens were processed and studied under scanning electron microscope. RESULTS: The trabeculae of femoral head formed round or roundish arch structure. The columnar trabeculae of femoral head in the aged women showed overt osteoclastic resorption, manifested in thinning, tapering and perforation, resulting in formation of icicle-like trabeculae, which then became rounded, lost height and eventually turned into small tubercle. As a result, the inter-trabecular space enlarged markedly. Under high magnification, the trabeculae could be discerned oval, narrow oval or spindle-shaped. Howship resorption lacunae, which varied in size, depth and content, but all revealed punched-out margin. During bone resorption, the inorganic and organic components were successively resorbed. In the Howship lacunae and surrounding areas, newly formed collagen fibrils and bone tissues emerged, signifying reversal and new bone formation phases after bone resorption phase. CONCLUSION: Osteoclastic resorption markedly compromises the structural integrity and strength of the trabeculae of the arch structure of the femoral head in the aged women.
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