The pattern of trabecular bone microarchitecture in the distal femur of typically developing children and its effect on processing of magnetic resonance images.

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INTRODUCTION: Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is used to assess trabecular bone microarchitecture in humans; however, image processing can be labor intensive and time consuming. One aim of this study was to determine the pattern of trabecular bone microarchitecture in the distal femur of typically developing children. A second aim was to determine the proportion and location of magnetic resonance images that need to be processed to yield representative estimates of trabecular bone microarchitecture.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: Twenty-six high resolution magnetic resonance images were collected immediately above the growth plate in the distal femur of 6-12year-old typically developing children (n=40). Measures of trabecular bone microarchitecture [i.e., apparent trabecular bone volume to total volume (appBV/TV), trabecular number (appTb.N), trabecular thickness (appTb.Th) and trabecular separation (appTb.Sp)] in the lateral aspect of the distal femur were determined using the twenty most central images (20IM). The average values for appBV/TV, appTb.N, appTb.Th and appTb.Sp from 20IM were compared to the average values from 10 images (10IM), 5 images (5IM) and 3 images (3IM) equally dispersed throughout the total image set and one image (1IM) from the center of the total image set using linear regression analysis. The resulting mathematical models were cross-validated using the leave-one-out technique.

RESULTS: Distance from the growth plate was strongly and inversely related to appBV/TV (r(2)=0.68, p0.05). However, there was a progressive decrease in the strength of the relationships as a smaller proportion of images were used to predict estimates from 20IM (r(2)=0.98 to 0.99 using 10IM, 0.94 to 0.96 using 5IM, 0.87 to 0.90 using 3IM and 0.66 to 0.72 using 1IM; all p

CONCLUSIONS: The findings indicate that partial magnetic resonance image sets can be used to provide reasonable estimates of trabecular bone microarchitecture status in the distal femur of typically developing children. However, because the relative amount of trabecular bone in the distal femur decreases with distance from the growth plate due to a decrease in trabecular number, careful positioning of the region of interest and sampling from throughout the region of interest is necessary.



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Medicine and Health Sciences




Sports Medicine Division

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