Alternative approach to assessment of bone quality using micro-computed tomography

Bone. 2004 Jul;35(1):326-33. doi: 10.1016/j.bone.2004.02.019.


Micro-computed tomography (micro-CT) allows for classical anatomical imaging well suited to the study of skeletal structures. Recent improvements in spatial resolution and the ability to assess cancellous bone microstructure more efficiently has led to an increase in the number of micro-CT users in both academic and commercial environments. Accurate and reproducible positioning of bone samples and image acquisition time are two limiting factors that every bio-imaging laboratory must deal with. Therefore, method improvements that may save time or improve quality and reproducibility of data are always welcome. Here, we present an "alternative" approach for performing two- (2D) and three-dimensional (3D) analysis of bone tissue using in vitro micro-CT technology. The proposed method for acquiring longitudinal images of long bones has several advantages over the "conventional" scanning method of generating axial images. The proposed method allows for more accurate and reproducible positioning of specimen for single and multi-sample scans while providing higher-resolution image sets in substantially less time, compared to the "conventional" method. In addition, longitudinal images generated with the proposed method are comparable to views obtained by classic bone histology and, thus, are more informative to bone scientists, providing an opportunity to assess cancellous bone of the metaphysis and/or epiphysis, evaluate longitudinal bone growth, and finally to more accurately and reproducibly define regions of interest on image.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bone and Bones / anatomy & histology*
  • Bone and Bones / diagnostic imaging
  • Imaging, Three-Dimensional
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Tibia / anatomy & histology
  • Tibia / diagnostic imaging
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed