An open source approach for regional cortical bone mineral density analysis

J Musculoskelet Neuronal Interact. 2011 Sep;11(3):243-8.


Objective: Cortical porosity, particularly at the endocortical region, is recognised to play a central role in the pathogenesis of bone fragility. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to: 1) demonstrate how cortical volumetric BMD (vBMD) distribution can be analysed from (p)QCT images and 2) highlight the clinical significance of assessing regional density distribution of cortical bone.

Methods: We used pQCT to compare mid-tibial cortical volumetric BMD distribution of 20 young (age 24(SD2) years, mass 77(11) kg, height 178(6) cm) and 25 elderly (72(4) years, 75(9) kg, 172(5) cm) men. Radial and polar cortical vBMD distributions were analysed using a custom built open source analysis tool which allowed the cortex to be divided into three concentric cortical divisions and in 36 cortical sectors originating from the centroid of the bone.

Results: Mean vBMD did not differ between the groups (1135(16) vs. 1130(28) mg/cm, P = 0.696). In contrast, there was a significant age-group by radial division interaction for radial cortical vBMD (P<0.001).

Conclusions: The proposed analysis method for analysing cortical bone density distribution of pQCT images was effective for detecting regional differences in cortical density between young and elderly men, which would have been missed by just looking at mean vBMD values.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Bone Density / physiology*
  • Calcification, Physiologic / physiology*
  • Databases, Factual
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted / methods*
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted / standards
  • Male
  • Porosity
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed / methods
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed / standards
  • Young Adult