Fractal analyses of osseous healing using Tuned Aperture Computed Tomography images
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The aim of this study was to evaluate osseous healing in mandibular defects using fractal analyses on conventional radiographs and tuned aperture computed tomography (TACT; OrthoTACT, Instrumentarium Imaging, Helsinki, Finland) images. Eighty test sites on the inferior margins of rabbit mandibles were subject to lesion induction and treated with one of the following: no treatment (controls); osteoblasts only; polymer matrix only; or osteoblast-polymer matrix (OPM) combination. Images were acquired using conventional radiography and TACT, including unprocessed TACT (TACT-U) and iteratively restored TACT (TACT-IR). Healing was followed up over time and images acquired at 3, 6, 9, and 12 weeks post-surgery. Fractal dimension (FD) was computed within regions of interest in the defects using the TACT workbench. Results were analyzed for effects produced by imaging modality, treatment modality, time after surgery and lesion location. Histomorphometric data were available to assess ground truth. Significant differences (p<0.0001) were noted based on imaging modality with TACT-IR recording the highest mean fractal dimension (MFD), followed by TACT-U and conventional images, in that order. Sites treated with OPM recorded the highest MFDs among all treatment modalities (p<0.0001). The highest MFD based on time was recorded at 3 weeks and differed significantly with 12 weeks (p<0.035). Correlation of FD with results of histomorphometric data was high (r=0.79; p<0.001). The FD computed on TACT-IR showed the highest correlation with histomorphometric data, thus establishing the fact TACT is a more efficient and accurate imaging modality for quantification of osseous changes within healing bony defects.
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