Prediction of incident vertebral fractures in routine MDCT: Comparison of global texture features, 3D finite element parameters and volumetric BMD

Eur J Radiol. 2021 Aug:141:109827. doi: 10.1016/j.ejrad.2021.109827. Epub 2021 Jun 24.


Purpose: In this case-control study, we evaluated different quantitative parameters derived from routine multi-detector computed tomography (MDCT) scans with respect to their ability to predict incident osteoporotic vertebral fractures of the thoracolumbar spine.

Methods: 16 patients who received baseline and follow-up contrast-enhanced MDCT and were diagnosed with an incident osteoporotic vertebral fracture at follow-up, and 16 age-, sex-, and follow-up-time-matched controls were included in the study. Vertebrae were labelled and segmented using a fully automated pipeline. Volumetric bone mineral density (vBMD), finite element analysis (FEA)-based failure load (FL) and failure displacement (FD), as well as 24 texture features were extracted from L1 - L3 and averaged. Odds ratios (OR) with 95% confidence intervals (CI), expressed per standard deviation decrease, receiver operating characteristic (ROC) area under the curve (AUC), as well as logistic regression models, including all analyzed parameters as independent variables, were used to assess the prediction of incident vertebral fractures.

Results: The texture feature Correlation (AUC = 0.754, p = 0.014; OR = 2.76, CI = 1.16-6.58) and vBMD (AUC = 0.750, p = 0.016; OR = 2.67, CI = 1.12-6.37) classified incident vertebral fractures best, while the best FEA-based parameter FL showed an AUC = 0.719 (p = 0.035). Correlation was the only significant predictor of incident fractures in the logistic regression analysis of all parameters (p = 0.022).

Conclusion: MDCT-derived FEA parameters and texture features, averaged from L1 - L3, showed only a moderate, but no statistically significant improvement of incident vertebral fracture prediction beyond BMD, supporting the hypothesis that vertebral-specific parameters may be superior for fracture risk assessment.

Keywords: Finite element analysis; Incident vertebral fracture; Multi-detector computed tomography; Opportunistic screening; Osteoporosis; Spine; Texture analysis.

MeSH terms

  • Bone Density
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Finite Element Analysis
  • Humans
  • Osteoporotic Fractures* / diagnostic imaging
  • Osteoporotic Fractures* / epidemiology
  • Spinal Fractures* / diagnostic imaging
  • Spinal Fractures* / epidemiology