Bone structure determined by HR-MDCT does not correlate with micro-CT of lumbar vertebral biopsies: a prospective cross-sectional human in vivo study
Journal of Orthopaedic Surgery and Research
Background Osteoporosis is characterized by a deterioration of bone structure and quantity that leads to an increased risk of fractures. The primary diagnostic tool for the assessment of the bone quality is currently the dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA), which however only measures bone quantity. High-resolution multidetector computed tomography (HR-MDCT) offers an alternative approach to assess bone structure, but still lacks evidence for its validity in vivo. The objective of this study
... was to assess the validity of HR-MDCT for the evaluation of bone architecture in the lumbar spine. Methods We conducted a prospective cross-sectional study to compare the results of preoperative lumbar HR-MDCT scans with those from microcomputed tomography (μCT) analysis of transpedicular vertebral body biopsies. For this purpose, we included patients undergoing spinal surgery in our orthopedic department. Each patient underwent preoperative HR-MDCT scanning (L1-L4). Intraoperatively, transpedicular biopsies were obtained from intact vertebrae. Micro-CT analysis of these biopsies was used as a reference method to assess the actual bone architecture. HR-MDCT results were statistically analyzed regarding the correlation with results from μCT. Results Thirty-four patients with a mean age of 69.09 years (± 10.07) were included in the study. There was no significant correlation for any of the parameters (bone volume/total volume, trabecular separation, trabecular thickness) between μCT and HR-MDCT (bone volume/total volume: r = − 0.026 and p = 0.872; trabecular thickness: r = 0.074 and r = 6.42; and trabecular separation: r = − 0.18 and p = 0.254). Conclusion To our knowledge, this is the first study comparing in vivo HR-MDCT with μCT analysis of vertebral biopsies in human patients. Our findings suggest that lumbar HR-MDCT is not valid for the in vivo evaluation of bone architecture in the lumbar spine. New diagnostic tools for the evaluation of osteoporosis and preoperative orthopedic planning are urgently needed.