Effect of voxel size on 3D micro-CT analysis of cortical bone porosity

Calcif Tissue Int. 2007 Mar;80(3):211-9. doi: 10.1007/s00223-005-0274-6. Epub 2007 Mar 5.


This study examines the impact of voxel size on 3D micro-CT analysis of human cortical bone porosity. The study is based on computed microtomography scans of 10 human anterior femoral midshaft specimens acquired at 5, 10, and 15 microm voxel sizes. Artificial voxel sizes (10, 20, and 40 microm) were generated from the smallest scan voxel size (5 microm) in order to compare actual scanning with artificial degradation, a method employed in other similar studies. Canal volume fraction (CaV/TV), canal surface to volume ratio (CaS/CaV), mean canal diameter (CaDm), mean canal separation (CaSp), canal number (CaN), degree of anisotropy (DA), and canal connectivity density (CaConnD) were calculated from matching volumes of interest for all datasets. Qualitatively, the clarity of the actual scan datasets deteriorated rapidly as voxel size increased. In contrast, within the artificially generated datasets, the clarity of cortical pores was better maintained until the largest voxel size (40 microm). Mean absolute percent error values, correlation coefficients, and paired t-tests revealed a pattern of increasing, and generally significant, differences between the smallest and progressively larger voxel sizes (both scanned and artificial). Relative to the actual scans, however, the artificial datasets were less sensitive to changing voxel size. These findings indicated that subtle changes in voxel size, within the range examined, have a considerable effect on human cortical porosity structural parameters. Additionally, the use of artificially increased voxel sizes should be viewed with caution as they may not reflect what can actually be obtained by scanning.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bone Density*
  • Bone and Bones / pathology*
  • Female
  • Femur / diagnostic imaging*
  • Femur / pathology
  • Humans
  • Imaging, Three-Dimensional / instrumentation
  • Imaging, Three-Dimensional / methods*
  • Microradiography / instrumentation
  • Microradiography / methods*
  • Porosity
  • Radiographic Image Interpretation, Computer-Assisted / methods
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed / instrumentation
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed / methods*