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Abstract

The conventional approach to measuring structural parameters in trabecular bone rests on stereology from optical images, derived from sections of embedded bone. In order to provide data that are statistically representative of a sufficiently large volume, multiple sections need to be analyzed in each of the three orthogonal planes. In this work, an alternative technique is presented which is based on three-dimensional (3D) volumetric proton nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) microimaging. The method presented provides images from 9 × 9 × 4 mm3 volumes of defatted bone specimens in 15–20 minutes scan time at isotropic resolution corresponding to (78 μm)3 voxel size. Surface-rendered images of bovine and human trabecular bone are shown and an algorithm was developed and implemented for determining the orientation and magnitude of the principal axes of the mean intercept length tensor.