Magnetic Resonance Imaging Measurements of Bone Density and Cross-Sectional Geometry
- Cite this article as:
- Hong, J., Hipp, J., Mulkern, R. et al. Calcif Tissue Int (2000) 66: 74. doi:10.1007/s002230050015
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is commonly used in the assessment of the musculoskeletal system and associated pathology. The ability of MRI to measure the signals from water and lipid protons enables quantitative measurements of bone porosity. The goal of this investigation was to demonstrate that the density and cross-sectional geometry of whole bones can be noninvasively measured using MRI. Ten trabecular specimens cored from whale vertebrae were used to compare apparent bone density measured directly, and using a quantitative MRI algorithm. Bone density and several cross-sectional geometric properties were also measured using MRI in the distal tibia of 14 volunteers. The MRI measurements were compared with measurements made using quantitative-computed tomography (QCT). A proton density sequence was used for all MRI studies. A porosity phantom was included in the MRI examinations and used to convert the MRI signal intensity to bone volume fraction. Bone density and cross-sectional bone geometry were calculated from the bone volume fractions by assuming constant tissue properties. The apparent density of trabecular bone cores measured directly and using quantitative MRI were linearly related (r2= 0.959; P < 0.01). A strong linear relation also existed between MRI and QCT measurements of ash density (r2= 0.923; P < 0.01) and cross-sectional geometric properties (r2= 0.976–0.992; P < 0.01). MRI data can be used to measure bone density and cross-sectional geometry of whole bones if a proton density sequence is used to homogenize differences in marrow composition and a porosity phatom is used for slice-specific volume fraction calibration.