The mechanical properties of cancellous bone, as measured from bone plug samples, have been widely documented. However, few tests have been attempted to explore the effects the intertrabecular contents may have on the load bearing capabilities. In this study, canine femoral heads were subjected to dynamic compressive strain cycles. The femoral heads were tested intact, as well as with disrupted boundary conditions of the continuous, intraosseous fluid space. A significant reduction in mechanical stiffness was observed when the fluid compartment boundary was disrupted by drilling a hole part way into the femoral neck. A finite element model of a typical femoral head showed that the stiffness change was not due to removal of material from the neck, hydraulic effects notwithstanding. Refilling the hole in the neck with saline solution and sealing the boundary restored the stiffness to the intact baseline level. However, an increase in the fluid pressure did not cause a statistically significant increase in the stiffness of the femoral head.

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