, Volume 15, Issue 10, pp 827-833
Date: 24 Mar 2004

Bone structure of the calcaneus: analysis with magnetic resonance imaging and correlation with histomorphometric study

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The purpose of this study was to compare structural measurements obtained from MR images of the calcaneus with those obtained from conventional histomorphometry. Sagittal magnetic resonance (MR) images of the calcaneus of 24 fresh human cadaveric feet were obtained at a spatial resolution achievable in vivo. A three-dimensional gradient echo-sequence was used with a slice thickness of 700 μm and in plane resolution of 172×172 μm. Structural analysis (four histomorphometric parameters; seven connectivity parameters) was performed in the superior region of the calcaneus. Bone biopsy specimens were obtained in the same area and were sectioned for histomorphometric study. Most of the MR histomorphometric parameters were overestimated (by a factor ranging from 0.8 to 3), as compared with histomorphometry. However, significant (P<0.05) correlations were found between MR imaging and histomorphometric measurements for bone volume/tissue volume, trabecular separation, trabecular number, star volume of the marrow space, node count and terminus count. MR histomorphometric parameters correlated much better with histomorphometry than connectivity parameters. This study suggests that structural parameters characterizing cancellous bone in the calcaneus can be derived from MR images in the limited spatial resolution regime applicable in vivo.