Adipose tissue volume determinations in women by computed tomography: technical considerations

Int J Obes. 1986;10(1):53-67.


Eight healthy female volunteers with weights ranging from 46 to 119 kg were examined with a Philips Tomoscan 310 in order to determine the amount of adipose tissue. From analysis of 'attenuation profiles' at the thigh and trunk levels the attenuation interval of adipose tissue was determined to be -190 HU to -30 HU. The adipose tissue volume was calculated from the adipose tissue area of 22 scans and from the distances between these scans. Three different mathematical models were tested which all gave similar results. The adipose tissue surface of the L4-L5 scan showed a higher correlation (r = 0.991) than any other single scan versus the 22-scan-based adipose tissue volume. The adipose tissue volume had to be calculated from nine selected slices in order to agree closely with the results based on 22 scans (r = 0.999) in each individual case. The adipose tissue volume of the head and neck region was 1.7 +/- 0.24 per cent of the total volume, while corresponding figures for other regions were: arms 7.5 +/- 1.2 per cent, legs 31.8 +/- 5.6 per cent, subcutaneous part of the trunk 48.9 +/- 5.1 per cent and visceral region 10.2 +/- 1.7 per cent. The relative amount of subcutaneous trunk adipose tissue increased with increasing adipose tissue volumes while that of legs, and of head and neck tended to decrease. The relative amount of visceral fat was not significantly dependent on the total adipose tissue volume in these eight women.

MeSH terms

  • Adipose Tissue / anatomy & histology*
  • Adipose Tissue / diagnostic imaging
  • Adult
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Mathematics
  • Middle Aged
  • Models, Theoretical
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed*