Imaging of trabecular bone structure in osteoporosis
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Osteoporosis is a metabolic bone disorder that is characterized by reduced bone mass and a deterioration of bone structure which results in an increased fracture risk. Since the disease is preventable, diagnostic techniques are of major importance. Standard techniques determine bone mineral density, whereas some of the newer techniques focus on trabecular structure. This article reviews structure analysis techniques in the diagnosis of osteoporosis. Imaging techniques applied to the assessment of trabecular bone structure include conventional radiography, magnification radiography, high-resolution CT (HRCT) and high-resolution MR imaging (HRMRI). The best results were obtained using high-resolution tomographic techniques. The highest spatial resolutions in vivo were achieved using HRMRI. The most common texture analysis techniques that have been used are morphological parameters (analogous to bone histomorphometry). Fractal dimension, co-occurrence matrices, mathematical filter techniques and autocorrelation functions are more complex techniques. Most of the studies evaluating structure analysis show that texture parameters and bone mineral density both predict bone strength and osteoporotic fractures, and that combining both techniques yields the best results in the diagnosis of osteoporosis.
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