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Critical Reviews™ in Biomedical Engineering
SJR: 0.207 SNIP: 0.376 CiteScore™: 0.79

ISSN Imprimir: 0278-940X
ISSN On-line: 1943-619X

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Critical Reviews™ in Biomedical Engineering

DOI: 10.1615/CritRevBiomedEng.v34.i3.20
pages 215-271

Microdamage in Bone: Implications for Fracture, Repair, Remodeling, and Adaptation

Seth W. Donahue
Departments of Biomedical Engineering and Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics, Michigan Technological University, Houghton, Michigan
Sarah A. Galley
Departments of Biomedical Engineering and Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics, Michigan Technological University, Houghton, Michigan


Fatigue microdamage accumulates in bone as a result of physiological loading. The damage is often manifested as microcracks, which are typically 50−100 μm long. These types of cracks develop in the interstitial bone and frequently abut osteon cement lines. In vitro experimentation has shown that an accumulation of fatigue damage reduces the material properties of bone (e.g., elastic modulus). An accumulation of fatigue damage has been implicated in the etiology of stress fractures and fragility fractures. However, bone has a remarkable ability to detect and repair fatigue microdamage. This article reviews the experimental techniques for identifying and quantifying different types of microdamage in bone, the density of in vivo microcracks at different skeletal locations, the effect of microdamage on bone material properties, the role of microdamage in bone fracture, and the biological mechanisms for the detection and repair of fatigue microdamage.

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