Dual-energy CT-based phantomless in vivo three-dimensional bone mineral density assessment of the lumbar spine
Purpose: To evaluate the feasibility of phantomless in vivo dual-energy computed tomography (CT)-based three-dimensional (3D) bone mineral density (BMD) assessment in comparison with dual x-ray absorptiometry (DXA). Materials and Methods: This retrospective study was approved by the institutional review board, and the requirement to obtain informed consent was waived. Data from clinically indicated dual-energy CT and DXA examinations within 2 months, comprising the lumbar spine of 40 patients, were included. By using automated dedicated postprocessing dual-energy CT software, the trabecular bone of lumbar vertebrae L1-L4 were analyzed and segmented. A mixed-effects model was used to assess the correlations between BMD values derived from dual-energy CT and DXA. Results: One hundred sixty lumbar vertebrae were analyzed in 40 patients (mean age, 57.1 years; range, 24-85 years), 21 male (mean age, 54.3 years; range, 24-85 years) and 19 female (mean age, 58.5 years; range, 31-80 years). Mean BMD of L1-L4 determined with DXA was 0.995 g/ cm², and 18 patients (45%) showed an osteoporotic BMD (T score less than 22.5) of at least two vertebrae. Mean dual-energy CT-based BMD of L1-L4 was 0.254 g/cm³. Bland-Altman analysis with mixed effects demonstrated a lack of correlation between dual-energy CT-based and DXA-based BMD values, with a mean difference of 0.7441 and 95% limits of agreement of 0.7441 +/- 0.4080. Conclusion: Dedicated postprocessing of dual-energy CT data allows for phantomless in vivo BMD assessment of the trabecular bone of lumbar vertebrae and enables freely rotatable color-coded 3D visualization of intravertebral BMD distribution.