Comparison of synchrotron radiation and conventional x-ray microcomputed tomography for assessing trabecular bone microarchitecture of human femoral heads

Christine Chappard, Armelle Basillais, Laurent Benhamou, Alexandra Bonassie, Barbara Brunet-Imbault, Nicolas Bonnet, Francoise Peyrin
Medical Physics 2006, 33 (9): 3568-77
Microcomputed tomography (microCT) produces three-dimensional (3D) images of trabecular bone. We compared conventional microCT (CmicroCT) with a polychromatic x-ray cone beam to synchrotron radiation (SR) microCT with a monochromatic parallel beam for assessing trabecular bone microarchitecture of 14 subchondral femoral head specimens from patients with osteoarthritis (n=10) or osteoporosis (n=4). SRmicroCT images with a voxel size of 10.13 microm were reconstructed from 900 2D radiographic projections (angular step, 0.2 degrees). CmicroCT images with a voxel size of 10.77 microm were reconstructed from 205, 413, and 825 projections obtained using angular steps of 0.9 degrees, 0.45 degrees, and 0.23 degrees, respectively. A single threshold was used to binarize the images. We computed bone volume/ tissue volume (BV/TV), bone surface/bone volume (BS/BV), trabecular number (Tb.N), trabecular thickness (Tb.Th and Tb.Th*), trabecular spacing (Tb.Sp), degree of anisotropy (DA), and Euler density. With the 0.9 degrees angular step, all CmicroCT values were significantly different from SRmicroCT values. With the 0.23 degrees and 0.45 degrees rotation steps, BV/TV, Tb.Th, and BS/BV by CmicroCT differed significantly from the values by SRmicroCT. The error due to slice matching (visual site matching +/- 10 slices) was within 1% for most parameters. Compared to SRmicroCT, BV/TV, Tb.Sp, and Tb.Th by CmicroCT were underestimated, whereas Tb.N and Tb. Th* were overestimated. A Bland and Altman plot showed no bias for Tb.N or DA. Bias was -0.8 +/- 1.0%, +5.0 +/- 1.1 microm, -5.9 +/- 6.3 microm, and -5.7 +/- 29.1 microm for BV/TV, Tb.Th*, Tb.Th, and Tb.Sp, respectively, and the differences did not vary over the range of values. Although systematic differences were noted between SRmicroCT and CmicroCT values, correlations between the techniques were high and the differences would probably not change the discrimination between study groups. CmicroCT provides a reliable 3D assessment of human defatted bone when working at the 0.23 degrees or 0.45 degrees rotation step; the 0.9 degrees rotation step may be insufficiently accurate for morphological bone analysis.

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