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Using anisotropic 3D Minkowski functionals for trabecular bone characterization and biomechanical strength prediction in proximal femur specimens

by   Titas De, et al.

The ability of Anisotropic Minkowski Functionals (AMFs) to capture local anisotropy while evaluating topological properties of the underlying gray-level structures has been previously demonstrated. We evaluate the ability of this approach to characterize local structure properties of trabecular bone micro-architecture in ex vivo proximal femur specimens, as visualized on multi-detector CT, for purposes of biomechanical bone strength prediction. To this end, volumetric AMFs were computed locally for each voxel of volumes of interest (VOI) extracted from the femoral head of 146 specimens. The local anisotropy captured by such AMFs was quantified using a fractional anisotropy measure; the magnitude and direction of anisotropy at every pixel was stored in histograms that served as a feature vectors that characterized the VOIs. A linear multi-regression analysis algorithm was used to predict the failure load (FL) from the feature sets; the predicted FL was compared to the true FL determined through biomechanical testing. The prediction performance was measured by the root mean square error (RMSE) for each feature set. The best prediction performance was obtained from the fractional anisotropy histogram of AMF Euler Characteristic (RMSE = 1.01 ± 0.13), which was significantly better than MDCT-derived mean BMD (RMSE = 1.12 ± 0.16, p<0.05). We conclude that such anisotropic Minkowski Functionals can capture valuable information regarding regional trabecular bone quality and contribute to improved bone strength prediction, which is important for improving the clinical assessment of osteoporotic fracture risk.


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