The purpose of this study was to examine the potential of digital tomosynthesis (DTS) derived cancellous bone textural measures to predict vertebral strength under conditions simulating a wedge fracture. 40 vertebral bodies (T6, T8, T11, and L3 levels) from 5 male and 5 female cadaveric donors were utilized. The specimens were scanned using dual energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) and high resolution computed tomography (HRCT) to obtain measures of bone mineral density (BMD) and content (BMC), and DTS to obtain measures of bone texture. Using a custom loading apparatus designed to deliver a nonuniform displacement resulting in a wedge deformity similar to those observed clinically, the specimens were loaded to fracture and their fracture strength was recorded. Mixed model regressions were used to determine the associations between wedge strength and DTS derived textural variables, alone and in the presence of BMD or BMC information. DTS derived fractal, lacunarity and mean intercept length variables correlated with wedge strength, and individually explained up to 53% variability. DTS derived textural variables, notably fractal dimension and lacunarity, contributed to multiple regression models of wedge strength independently from BMC and BMD. The model from a scan orientation transverse to the spine axis and in the anterior-posterior view resulted in highest explanatory capability (R2adj = 0.91), with a scan orientation parallel to the spine axis and in the lateral view offering an alternative (R2adj = 0.88). In conclusion, DTS can be used to examine cancellous texture relevant to vertebral wedge strength, and potentially complement BMD in assessment of vertebral fracture risk.
Keywords: Bone density; Cancellous bone texture; Imaging; Vertebral strength; Wedge fracture.
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