Computer Methods in Biomechanics and Biomedical Engineering vol:18 issue:13 pages:1392-1399
No accepted methodology exists to assess trabecular bone orientation from clinical CT scans. The aim of this study was to test the hypothesis that the distribution of grey values in clinical CT images is related to the underlying trabecular architecture and that this distribution can be used to identify the principal directions and local anisotropy of trabecular bone. Fourteen trabecular bone samples were extracted from high-resolution (30 μm) micro-CT scans of seven human femoral heads. Trabecular orientations and local anisotropy were calculated using grey-level deviation (GLD), a novel method providing a measure of the three-dimensional distribution of image grey values. This was repeated for different image resolutions down to 300 μm and for volumes of interest (VOIs) ranging from 1 to 7 mm. Outcomes were compared with the principal mechanical directions and with mean intercept length (MIL) as calculated for the segmented 30-μm images. For the 30-μm images, GLD predicted the mechanical principal directions equally well as MIL. For the 300-μm images, which are resolutions that can be obtained in vivo using clinical CT, only a small increase (3°-6°) in the deviation from the mechanical orientations was found. VOIs of 5 mm resulted in a robust quantification of the orientation. We conclude that GLD can quantify structural bone parameters from low-resolution CT images.