Journal of Digital Imaging

, Volume 32, Issue 2, pp 283–289 | Cite as

Accurate Age Determination for Adolescents Using Magnetic Resonance Imaging of the Hand and Wrist with an Artificial Neural Network-Based Approach

  • Fuk Hay TangEmail author
  • Jasmine L.C. Chan
  • Bill K.L. Chan


This study proposes an accurate method in assessing chronological age of the adolescents using a machine learning approach using MRI images. We also examined the value of MRI with Tanner-Whitehouse 3 (TW3) method in assessing skeletal maturity. Seventy-nine 12–17-year-old healthy Hong Kong Chinese adolescents were recruited. The left hand and wrist region were scanned by a dedicated skeletal MRI scanner. T1-weighted three-dimensional coronal view images for the left hand and wrist region were acquired. Independent maturity indicators such as subject body height, body weight, bone marrow composition intensity quantified by MRI, and TW3 skeletal age were included for artificial neural network (ANN) analysis. Our results indicated that the skeletal age was generally underestimated using TW3 method, and significant difference (p < 0.05) was noted for skeletal age with chronological age for female category and at later stage of adolescence (15 to 17 years old) in both genders. In our proposed machine learning approach, ages determined by ANN method agreed well with chronological age (p > 0.05).The machine learning approach using ANN method was about 10-fold more accurate than the TW3 method using MRI alone. It offers a more objective and accurate solution for prospective chronological maturity assessment for adolescents.


Skeletal maturity Chronological age Machine learning Magnetic resonance imaging Artificial neural networks 



Our thanks go to the students Chan Yiu Cheong, Chung Chin Pok, Kwok Man Yin, and Yim Ming Yeung who participated in this project.

Funding Information

This project is partially funded by the departmental one-line budget for Final Year Project of the Hong Kong Polytechnic University.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Ethics approval was also obtained from the University Research Ethics Committee.

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Society for Imaging Informatics in Medicine 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Medical and Health SciencesTung Wah CollegeKowloonHong Kong
  2. 2.Department of Health Technology and InformaticsThe Hong Kong Polytechnic UniversityHung HomHong Kong

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