Beyond Bone Densitometry: Assessment of Bone Architecture by X-Ray Computed Tomography at Various Levels of Resolution

  • K. Engelke
  • W. Kalender


Osteoporosis is defined as a systemic skeletal disease characterized by low bone mass and microarchitectural deterioration of bone tissue. In analogy to well-known examples from mechanical engineering such as steel bridges, bone strength and fracture resistance are determined not only by the amount of material but also by its spatial distribution, i.e., by the architecture or structure of the trabecular network. Established methods of bone densitometry such as quantitative computed tomography (QCT) of the spine or forearm and dual X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) of spine, hip, and forearm focus on measurement of bone mass, i.e., on bone mineral content (BMC) or bone mineral density (BMD). Microarchitecture is generally assessed by histomorphometry of thin sections, a technique established for many years. While densitometry delivers accurate and precise results on the scale of individual bones, histomorphometry measures thickness and distance on the trabecular scale. Densitometry allows us to investigate the global picture in vivo while histomorphometry concentrates on fine details of trabecular structure, but it is destructive by nature and is generally applied only postmortem or to bone biopsies. Investigated volumes of interest range from several cubic centimeters in the case of densitometry to cubic millimeters in histomorphometry.


Bone Mineral Density Trabecular Bone Bone Mineral Content Bone Densitometry Compute Tomogra 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • K. Engelke
  • W. Kalender

There are no affiliations available

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