Calibration of trabecular bone structure measurements of in vivo three-dimensional peripheral quantitative computed tomography with 28-microm-resolution microcomputed tomography

Bone. 1999 Jan;24(1):35-9. doi: 10.1016/s8756-3282(98)00159-8.


It has recently been shown that high-resolution computed tomography and magnetic resonance imaging have the potential to assess information about the microarchitecture of bone in a noninvasive way. However, due to the limited spatial resolution of the in vivo measurements, the individual trabeculae are not depicted with their true thickness. Nevertheless, the spacing of the structural elements allows the assessment of trabecular number. In a previous publication, the ridge number density (RND) was introduced as a measure for this structural index. It can be extracted from high-resolution three-dimensional (3D) images of patients and shows a reproducibility of 1.6%. In this work the Ridge extraction procedure is compared to and calibrated with microcomputed tomography (microCT) measurements. Three-dimensional measurements of 15 bone biopsies are made with a 28-microm-resolution microCT scanner as well as with a 165-microm-resolution peripheral quantitative computed tomography (pQCT) scanner. For the latter, the same settings are used as for patient examinations. The 15 pairs of measurements are analyzed and the resulting structural indices are compared. The results show that structural indices such as trabecular number, mean thickness, and mean separation can be determined from the 3D pQCT data with an r2 of between 0.81 and 0.96 if the microCT data are taken as the gold standard. The calibration equation found for the bone volume fraction has an intercept of 0.04 and a slope of 0.86 (r2 = 0.98), and trabecular number as the main additional structural index shows a nonsignificant intercept and a calibration slope of 0.91 with the microCT. The calibration procedure can be used directly for patient examinations. Applied to time-series measurements it may be of value for monitoring and quantifying microarchitectural changes due to therapy or aging.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Biopsy
  • Bone Density / physiology
  • Calibration
  • Female
  • Femur Head / diagnostic imaging*
  • Femur Head / physiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Microradiography / instrumentation
  • Microradiography / methods*
  • Middle Aged
  • Tomography Scanners, X-Ray Computed*
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed / instrumentation
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed / methods*