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Osteoporos Int. 2006 Oct;17(10):1472-82. Epub 2006 Jul 13.

Radiographic texture analysis of densitometer-generated calcaneus images differentiates postmenopausal women with and without fractures.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL, USA.



Bone fragility is determined by bone mass, measured as bone mineral density (BMD), and by trabecular structure, which cannot be easily measured using currently available noninvasive methods. In previous studies, radiographic texture analysis (RTA) performed on the radiographic images of the spine, proximal femur, and os calcis differentiated subjects with and without osteoporotic fractures. The present cross-sectional study was undertaken to determine whether such differentiation could also be made using high-resolution os calcis images obtained on a peripheral densitometer.


In 170 postmenopausal women (42 with and 128 without prevalent vertebral fractures) who had no secondary causes of osteoporosis and were not receiving treatment for osteoporosis, BMD of the lumbar spine, proximal femur, and os calcis was measured using dual energy x-ray absorptiometry. Vertebral fractures were diagnosed on densitometric spine images. RTA, including Fourier-based and fractal analyses, was performed on densitometric images of os calcis.


BMD at all three sites and all texture features was significantly different in subjects with and without fractures, with the most significant differences observed for the femoral neck and total hip measurements and for the RTA feature Minkowski fractal (p<0.001). In univariate logistic regression analysis, Minkowski fractal predicted the presence of vertebral fractures as well as femoral neck BMD (p<0.001). In multivariate logistic regression analysis, both femoral neck BMD and Minkowski fractal yielded significant predictive effects (p=0.001), and when age was added to the model, the effect of RTA remained significant (p=0.002), suggesting that RTA reflects an aspect of bone fragility that is not captured by age or BMD. Finally, when RTA was compared in 42 fracture patients and 42 nonfracture patients matched for age and BMD, the RTA features were significantly different between the groups (p=0.003 to p=0.04), although BMD and age were not.


This study suggests that RTA of densitometer-generated calcaneus images provides an estimate of bone fragility independent of and complementary to BMD measurement and age.

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