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Exploring Age-Related Variations in Carpal Bone Volume: Implications for Clinical Practice and Anatomical Understanding.

BACKGROUND: Clinically recognizing the changes in carpal bone volumes and understanding their implications in predicting osteoarthritis (OA) is crucial in clinical practice This study aimed to explore age-related differences in carpal bone volumes across genders, leveraging computed tomography (CT) wrist scans to create 3D surface models of these bones.

METHODS: Carpal bone volumes were calculated using the 3D Slicer software from CT scans obtained from Frankston Hospital and additional datasets from Brown and Auckland Universities. The data were statistically processed using Stata V13. Double-sided P -values < .05 were considered statistically significant. The study was conducted in accordance with the ethical standards laid out in the Declaration of Helsinki.

RESULTS: A total of 181 patients were analyzed, and 48% of whom were female. A statistically significant positive Spearman correlation (rho = 0.37-0.611, P <.05) was observed between increasing age and the volume of all surveyed carpal bones (scaphoid, lunate, triquetrum, pisiform, hamate, capitate, and trapezium) across genders. Intrauser and interuser reliabilities for 3D Slicer-generated volumes of trapezium and pisiform bones were statistically significant, with Interclass Correlation Coefficient (ICC) values of 0.86 and 0.95, respectively.

CONCLUSION: Trapezial volumes increase with age, potentially due to the presence of OA and consequent osteophyte formation. This pattern is more prevalent among older individuals and women. However, the positive correlation between carpal bone volume and age was consistent across all carpal bones and both genders, regardless of OA presence. These findings suggest that carpal bone volume may naturally increase with age, independent of OA-related changes.

LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: III, cohort study.

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