Relevance of 2D radiographic texture analysis for the assessment of 3D bone micro-architecture



Although the diagnosis of osteoporosis is mainly based on dual x-ray absorptiometry, it has been shown that trabecular bone micro-architecture is also an important factor in regard to fracture risk. In vivo, techniques based on high-resolution x-ray radiography associated to texture analysis have been proposed to investigate bone micro-architecture, but their relevance for giving pertinent 3D information is unclear. Thirty-three calcaneus and femoral neck bone samples including the cortical shells (diameter: 14mm, height: 3040mm) were imaged using 3D-synchrotron x-ray micro-CT at the ESRF. The 3D reconstructed images with a cubic voxel size of 15μm were further used for two purposes: (1) quantification of three-dimensional trabecular bone micro-architecture, (2) simulation of realistic x-ray radiographs under different acquisition conditions. The simulated x-ray radiographs were then analyzed using a large variety of texture analysis methods (co-occurrence, spectral density, fractal, morphology, etc.). The range of micro-architecture parameters was in agreement with previous studies and rather large, suggesting that the population was representative. More than 350 texture parameters were tested. A small number of them were selected based on their correlation to micro-architectural morphometric parameters. Using this subset of texture parameters, multiple regression allowed one to predict up to 93% of the variance of micro-architecture parameters using three texture features. 2D texture features predicting 3D micro-architecture parameters other than BV/TV were identified. The methodology proposed for evaluating the relationships between 3D micro-architecture and 2D texture parameters may also be used for optimizing the conditions for radiographic imaging. Further work will include the application of the method to physical radiographs. In the future, this approach could be used in combination with DXA to refine osteoporosis diagnosis.