3D statistical model of the pelvic ring - a CT-based statistical evaluation of anatomical variation

J Anat. 2019 Mar;234(3):376-383. doi: 10.1111/joa.12928. Epub 2018 Dec 21.


The pelvic ring is a highly complex construct with a central role for human stability and mobility. The observable interindividual differences in skeletal anatomy are caused by anatomical variation in the innominate bones as well as the sacrum, further to differences in the spatial arrangement of these bones to each other. The aim of this study was to generate a 3D statistical model of the entire pelvic ring in order to analyse the observed interindividual differences and anatomical variation. A series of 50 anonymized pelvic CT scans of uninjured Japanese adults [30 males, 20 females, average age of 74.9 years, standard deviation (SD) 16.9 years] were processed and analysed, resulting in a 3D statistical overall mean model and separate male and female mean models. Principal component analysis (PCA) of the overall statistical model predominantly showed size variation (20.39%) followed by shape variation (14.13%), and a variation of the spatial arrangement of the sacrum to the innominate bones in different anatomical peculiarities (11.39 and 8.85%). In addition, selected internal and external pelvic parameters were manually measured with the objective of further evaluating and quantifying the observed interindividual as well as the known sex-specific differences. A separate statistical model of the grey value distribution based on the given Hounsfield unit (HU) values was calculated for assessing bone mass distribution, thus an indication of bone quality utilizing grey values as a quantitative description of radiodensity was obtained. A consistent pattern of grey value distribution was shown, with the highest grey values observed between the sacro-iliac joint and the acetabulum along the pelvic brim. Low values were present in the sacral ala, in the area of the iliac fossa as well as in the pubic rami next to the symphysis. The present model allows a differentiated analysis of the observed interindividual variation of the pelvic ring and an evaluation of the grey value distribution therein. Besides providing a better understanding of anatomical variation, this model could be also used as a helpful tool for educational purposes, preoperative planning and implant design.

Keywords: 3D model; anatomical variation; interindividual variability; pelvic ring; principal component analysis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Anatomic Variation*
  • Biometry
  • Female
  • Gender Identity
  • Humans
  • Ilium / anatomy & histology
  • Imaging, Three-Dimensional / methods*
  • Male
  • Models, Statistical
  • Pelvic Bones / anatomy & histology*
  • Pelvis / anatomy & histology*
  • Principal Component Analysis
  • Sacroiliac Joint / anatomy & histology
  • Sacrum / anatomy & histology*
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed / methods