Trabecular Homogeneity Index Derived From Plain Radiograph to Evaluate Bone Quality



Radiographic texture analysis has been developed lately to improve the assessment of bone architecture as a determinant of bone quality. We validate here an algorithm for the evaluation of trabecular homogeneity index (HI) in the proximal femur from hip radiographs, with a focus on the impact of the principal compressive system of the trabecular bone, and evaluate its correlation with femoral strength, bone mineral density (BMD), and volumetric trabecular structure parameters. A semiautomatic custom-made algorithm was applied to calculate the HI in the femoral neck and trochanteric areas from radiographs of 178 femoral bone specimens (mean age 79.3 ± 10.4 years). Corresponding neck region was selected in CT scans to calculate volumetric parameters of trabecular structure. The site-specific BMDs were assessed from dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA), and the femoral strength was experimentally tested in side-impact configuration. Regression analysis was performed between the HI and biomechanical femoral strength, BMD, and volumetric parameters. The correlation between HI and failure load was R2 = 0.50; this result was improved to R2 = 0.58 for cervical fractures alone. The discrimination of bones with high risk of fractures (load <3000 N) was similar for HI and BMD (AUC = 0.87). Regression analysis between the HIs versus site-specific BMDs yielded R2 = 0.66 in neck area, R2 = 0.60 in trochanteric area, and an overall of R2 = 0.66 for the total hip. Neck HI and BMD correlated significantly with volumetric structure parameters. We present here a method to assess HI that can explain 50% of an experimental failure load and determines bones with high fracture risk with similar accuracy as BMD. The HI also had good correlation with DXA and computed tomography–derived data. © 2013 American Society for Bone and Mineral Research.