Purpose: Texture analysis of femur radiographs may serve as a potential low cost technique to predict osteoporotic fracture risk and has received considerable attention in the past years. A further application of this technique may be the measurement of the quality of specific bone compartments to provide useful information for treatment of bone fractures. Two challenges of texture analysis are the selection of the best suitable texture measure and reproducible placement of regions of interest (ROIs). The goal of this in vitro study was to automatically place ROIs in radiographs of proximal femur specimens and to calculate correlations between various different texture analysis methods and the femurs' anchorage strength.
Methods: Radiographs were obtained from 14 femoral specimens and bone mineral density (BMD) was measured in the femoral neck. Biomechanical testing was performed to assess the anchorage strength in terms of failure load, breakaway torque, and number of cycles. Images were segmented using a framework that is based on the usage of level sets and statistical in-shape models. Five ROIs were automatically placed in the head, upper and lower neck, trochanteric, and shaft compartment in an atlas subject. All other subjects were registered rigidly, affinely, and nonlinearly, and the resulting transformation was used to map the five ROIs onto the individual femora.
Results: In each ROI, texture features were extracted using gray level co-occurence matrices (GLCM), third-order GLCM, morphological gradients (MGs), Minkowski dimensions (MDs), Minkowski functionals (MFs), Gaussian Markov random fields, and scaling index method (SIM). Coefficients of determination for each texture feature with parameters of anchorage strength were computed. In a stepwise multiregression analysis, the most predictive parameters were identified in different models. Texture features were highly correlated with anchorage strength estimated by the failure load of up to R2=0.61 (MF and MG features, p<0.01) and were partially independent of BMD. The correlations were dependent on the choice of the ROI and the texture measure. The best predictive multiregression model for failure load R2adj=0.86 (p<0.001) included a set of recently developed texture methods (MF and SIM) but excluded bone mineral density and commonly used texture measures.
Conclusions: The results suggest that texture information contained in trabecular bone structure visualized on radiographs may predict whether an implant anchorage can be used and may determine the local bone quality from preoperative radiographs.