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Bone. 1998 May;22(5 Suppl):149S-153S.

Noninvasive assessment of bone density and structure using computed tomography and magnetic resonance.

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  • 1Department of Radiology, University of California, San Francisco, 94143-1250, USA.


For several reasons, including low cost and radiation dose, simplicity, and the ability to image several skeletal sites, dual X-ray absoptiometry (DXA) is the most widely employed technique for diagnostic and serial assessment of integral bone mass in osteoporosis and other metabolic bone diseases. However, three-dimensional imaging modalities such as quantitative computed tomography (QCT) and magnetic resonance (MR) imaging offer the ability to separately examine different factors that may play independent and important roles in osteoporosis. These factors include the density of the trabecular and cortical compartments as well as the pattern of trabecular microarchitecture. New developments in QCT include volumetric approaches for precise compartmental assessment of the spine and proximal femur as well as thin-slice tomography of the vertebral body for assessment of trabecular texture. In addition, ultrahigh resolution CT scanners (spatial resolution ë50-150(i)i) have been developed for imaging of trabecular structure in specimens and in some cases for the peripheral skeleton (distal radius and phalanges). High resolution MR measurements may be employed for assessment of the trabecular texture at a range of peripheral sites, including the calcaneus, distal radius, and phalanges.

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