A technique for developing CAD geometry of long bones using clinical CT data

Med Eng Phys. 2015 Nov;37(11):1116-23. doi: 10.1016/j.medengphy.2015.08.014. Epub 2015 Oct 1.


Computed tomography scans are a valuable tool for developing computational models of bones. The objective of this study is to present a method to generate CAD representations of long bones from clinically based CT scans. A secondary aim is to apply the method to six long bones from a sample of three individuals. Periosteal and endosteal bone surfaces were segmented and used to calculate the characteristic cortical thickness, Tc, at 1 mm increments along the bone axis. In the epiphyses where the value of Tc fell below the scanner threshold, the endosteal bone layer was replaced using literature values projected inward from the periosteal surface. On average, 74.7 ± 7.4% of the bone geometry was above the scanner cut-off and was therefore derived from the CT scan data. The thickness measurement was also compared to experimental measurements of cadaveric bone and was found to predict Tc with an error of 3.1%. This method presents a possible solution for the characterization of characteristic thickness along the length of the bone and may also aid in the development of orthopedic implant design and subject specific finite element models.

Keywords: Area moment of inertia; Biomechanics; CAD; Cortical thickness; Full width half max; Subject specific bone model.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Arm / anatomy & histology
  • Arm / diagnostic imaging
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Bone and Bones / anatomy & histology*
  • Bone and Bones / diagnostic imaging*
  • Computer-Aided Design*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Leg / anatomy & histology
  • Leg / diagnostic imaging
  • Male
  • Models, Biological*
  • Organ Size
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed / methods*