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J Orthop Trauma. 2008 Sep;22(8 Suppl):S83-90. doi: 10.1097/BOT.0b013e31815ea2a4.

Qualitative and quantitative assessment of bone fragility and fracture healing using conventional radiography and advanced imaging technologies--focus on wrist fracture.

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Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, California 94143, USA.


Fractures of the distal radius are one of the most common injuries presented to orthopaedic surgeons. A variety of treatment options are available for the vast array of fracture patterns. Research that explores bone fragility and fracture healing has led to new treatment modalities. As new products and methods are derived to aid in fracture healing it is essential to develop noninvasive and/or nondestructive techniques to assess structural information about bone. Quantitative assessment of macro-structural characteristics such as geometry, and microstructural features such as relative trabecular volume, trabecular spacing, and connectivity may improve our ability to estimate bone strength. Methods for quantitatively assessing macrostructure include (besides conventional radiographs) dual x-ray absorptiometry (DXA) and computed tomography (CT), particularly volumetric quantitative computed tomography (vQCT). Methods for assessing microstructure of trabecular bone include high resolution computed tomography (hrCT), micro computed tomography (microCT), high resolution magnetic resonance (hrMR), and micro magnetic resonance microMR. Volumetric QCT, hrCT and hrMR are generally applicable in vivo; microCT and microMR are principally applicable in vitro. Clinically, the challenges for bone imaging include balancing the advantages of simple bone densitometry versus the more complex architectural features of bone, or the deeper research requirements versus the broader clinical needs.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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