The use of μCT and fractal dimension for fracture prediction in osteoporotic individuals

J Mech Behav Biomed Mater. 2020 Mar;103:103585. doi: 10.1016/j.jmbbm.2019.103585. Epub 2019 Dec 11.


Osteoporosis (OP) is a widespread condition with commonly associated fracture sites at the hip, vertebra and wrist. This study examines the effects of age and osteoporosis on bone quality by comparing the efficacy of using parameters which indicate bone quality (both traditional clinical parameters such as bone mineral density (BMD), as well as apparent Young's modulus determined by finite element analysis, among others) to predict fracture. Non-fracture samples were collected from the femoral heads of 83 donors (44 males, 39 females), and fracture samples were obtained from the femoral heads of 17 donors (female). Microarchitectural parameters (Bone Volume/Total Volume [BV/TV], Bone Surface/Bone Volume [BS/BV], Tissue Mineral Density [TMD, etc.]) were measured from μCT of each sample as well as 2D and 3D fractal dimension (D2D and D3D respectively). A cube was cropped from μCT images and an isotropic hexahedral element was assigned to each voxel. Finite element analysis was used to calculate the Young's modulus for each sample. Overall, values for microarchitectural characteristics, fractal dimension measurements and Young's Modulus were consistent with values within literature. Significant correlations are observed between age and BV/TV for non-fracture males and females, as well as between age and volumetric BMD (vBMD) for the same groups. Significant differences are present between age-matched non-fracture and fracture females for BV/TV, BS/BV, vBMD, TMD, D2D, D3D, (p < 0.01 for all). Properties which are not age dependent are significantly different between age-matched non-fracture and fracture specimens, indicating OP is a disease, and not just an accelerated aging process.

Keywords: Bone μCT; Femoral head; Finite element analysis; Fractal dimension; Osteoporosis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Bone Density
  • Female
  • Finite Element Analysis
  • Fractals
  • Fractures, Bone* / diagnostic imaging
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Osteoporosis* / diagnostic imaging