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Med Phys. 2009 Apr;36(4):1267-74.

Evaluation of correction methods for coil-induced intensity inhomogeneities and their influence on trabecular bone structure parameters from MR images.

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  • 1Department of Radiology and Biomedical Imaging, Musculoskeletal and Quantitative Imaging Research Group (MQIR), University of California, San Francisco, California 94158, USA.


Magnetic resonance (MR) imaging-based quantitative trabecular bone structure analysis has gained increasing interest in osteoporotic fracture risk assessment and treatment evaluation related to osteoporosis. In vivo MR images of anatomic regions such as the proximal femur and distal tibia are generally acquired with a surface coil in order to obtain sufficient sensitivity and resolution for quantification of the trabeculae. However, these coils introduce intensity inhomogeneities which affect the trabecular bone structure analysis. This work evaluates the applicability of a fully automatic coil correction by nonparametric nonuniform intensity normalization (N3) in the analysis of trabecular bone parameters. The ability to correct for coil-induced intensity inhomogeneity was evaluated ex vivo on proximal femur specimens scanned with both a surface coil and a volume coil, which allowed for a direct evaluation of the performance of the coil correction methods without any major confounding factors. In addition, trabecular bone parameter values were correlated with values from high-resolution peripheral computed tomography (HR-pQCT) scans, and the reproducibility of trabecular bone parameters was evaluated in an in vivo study of repeat hip MR scans. The trabecular bone parameters determined from MR surface coil scans processed with the N3 coil correction method showed significant correlation (p < 0.05) with corresponding values from homogeneous intensity data in the ex vivo study. This can be compared to the correlation without coil correction (p < 0.5), and coil correction using low-pass filtering (LPF) (p < 0.53). The in vivo interscan variability was reduced from 8.9% to 12.8% using LPF-based to 3.6%-8.4% (CV) using N3 coil correction; hence the results showed that N3 is advantageous to LPF-based coil correction. No significant differences in correlation to HR-pQCT data were found for the coil correction methods. The significant correlations with volume coil data and high reproducibility of the N3 processed data imply that N3 coil correction preserve image information while accurately correcting for coil-induced intensity inhomogeneities, which makes it suitable for quantitative analysis of trabecular bone structure from MR images acquired with surface coils.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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