Calcified Tissue International

, Volume 58, Issue 1, pp 24–29 | Cite as

A microtomographic system for the nondestructive evaluation of bone architecture

  • P. Rüegsegger
  • B. Koller
  • R. Müller
Laboratory Investigations


Microtomography (micro-computed-tomography, μ-CT) is a method to image and quantify trabecular bone. It has the capability to address the role of trabecular architecture on the mechanical properties of bone and to study trabecular bone remodeling. The system described in this work is based on a compact fan-beam type tomograph that can work in spiral scanning or multislice mode. An X-ray tube with a microfocus is used as a source, a CCD-array as a detector. Samples with diameters from a few millimeters to a maximum of 14 mm can be measured, typically, bone biopsies with a diameter of 8 mm and a length of approximately 10 mm are measured. Spatial resolution is 28 μm. Usually the volume of interest contains 4×4×4 mm3 and is represented in 14×14×14 μm3 voxels. 3D stereological indices are extracted according to the standard definitions used in histomorphometry. Triangular surface representation is effected with an extended marching cube algorithm and forms a convenient basis for finite element analysis. Microtomographic measurements may be employed to “calibrate” lower-dose, lower-resolution imagesin vivo as well as to nondestructively assess unprocessed surgical bone biopsy specimens. These specimens remain intact for mechanical or histological testing.

Key words

Microtomography Computed tomography Bone structure Bone strength Osteoporosis 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag New York Inc 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • P. Rüegsegger
    • 1
    • 2
  • B. Koller
    • 1
    • 2
  • R. Müller
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Institute for Biomedical EngineeringUniversity of ZürichZürichSwitzerland
  2. 2.Federal Institute of TechnologyZürichSwitzerland

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