INDEPENDENT MEASUREMENT OF FEMORAL CORTICAL THICKNESS AND CORTICAL BONE DENSITY USING CLINICAL CT
G.M. Treece and A.H. Gee
24 April 2014
The local structure of the proximal femoral cortex is of interest since both fracture risk, and the effects of various interventions aimed at reducing that risk, are associated with cortical properties focused in particular regions rather than dispersed over the whole bone. Much of the femoral cortex is less than 3 mm thick, appearing so blurred in clinical CT that its actual density is not apparent in the data, and neither thresholding nor full-width half-maximum techniques are capable of determining its width. Our work on cortical bone mapping showed how to produce more accurate estimates of cortical thickness by assuming a fixed value of the cortical density for each hip. However, although cortical density varies much less over the proximal femur than thickness, what little variation there is leads to errors in thickness measurement. In this paper, we develop the cortical bone mapping technique by exploiting local estimates of imaging blur to correct the global density estimate, thus providing a local density estimate as well as more accurate estimates of thickness. We also consider measurement of cortical mass per unit surface area and the density of trabecular bone immediately adjacent to the cortex. Performance is assessed with ex vivo clinical QCT scans of proximal femurs, with true values derived from high resolution HRpQCT scans of the same bones. We demonstrate superior estimation of thickness than is possible with alternative techniques (accuracy 0.12 +/- 0.39 mm for cortices in the range 1-3 mm), and that local cortical density estimation is feasible for densities >800 mg/cm3.
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