An Algorithm for Automated Separation of Trabecular Bone from Variably Thick Cortices in High-Resolution Computed Tomography Data

Ida C. Ang, Maria Fox, John D. Polk, Mariana E. Kersh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Objective: Structural measurements after separation of cortical from trabecular bone are of interest to a wide variety of communities but are difficult to obtain because of the lack of accurate automated techniques. Methods: We d present a structure-based algorithm for separating cortical from trabecular bone in binarized images. Using the thickness of the cortex as a seed value, bone connected to the cortex within a spatially local threshold value is identified and separated from the remaining bone. The algorithm was tested on seven biological data sets from four species imaged using micro-computed tomography (μ-CT) and high-resolution peripheral quantitative computed tomography (HR-pQCT). Area and local thickness measurements were compared to images segmented manually. Results: The algorithm was approximately 11 times faster than manual measurements and the median error in cortical area was -4.47 ± 4.15%. The median error in cortical thickness was approximately 0.5 voxels for μ-CT data and less than 0.05 voxels for HR-pQCT images resulting in an overall difference of -28.1 ± 71.1 μm. Conclusion: A simple and readily implementable methodology has been developed that is repeatable, efficient, and requires few user inputs, providing an unbiased means of separating cortical from trabecular bone. Significance: Automating the segmentation of variably thick cortices will allow for the evaluation of large data sets in a time-efficient manner and allow for full-field analyses that have been previously limited to small regions of interest. The MATLAB code can be downloaded from https://github.com/TBL-UIUC/downloads.git.
Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalIEEE Transactions on Biomedical Engineering
DOIs
StateE-pub ahead of print - Jun 21 2019

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Tomography
Bone
Thickness measurement
MATLAB
Seed

Keywords

  • bone
  • cortical
  • feature extraction
  • high-resolution imaging
  • image analysis
  • image processing
  • image segmentation
  • MATLAB
  • morphological operations

Cite this

@article{7815bceaa6cf4fa59370f8a6118b0ebc,
title = "An Algorithm for Automated Separation of Trabecular Bone from Variably Thick Cortices in High-Resolution Computed Tomography Data",
abstract = "Objective: Structural measurements after separation of cortical from trabecular bone are of interest to a wide variety of communities but are difficult to obtain because of the lack of accurate automated techniques. Methods: We d present a structure-based algorithm for separating cortical from trabecular bone in binarized images. Using the thickness of the cortex as a seed value, bone connected to the cortex within a spatially local threshold value is identified and separated from the remaining bone. The algorithm was tested on seven biological data sets from four species imaged using micro-computed tomography (μ-CT) and high-resolution peripheral quantitative computed tomography (HR-pQCT). Area and local thickness measurements were compared to images segmented manually. Results: The algorithm was approximately 11 times faster than manual measurements and the median error in cortical area was -4.47 ± 4.15{\%}. The median error in cortical thickness was approximately 0.5 voxels for μ-CT data and less than 0.05 voxels for HR-pQCT images resulting in an overall difference of -28.1 ± 71.1 μm. Conclusion: A simple and readily implementable methodology has been developed that is repeatable, efficient, and requires few user inputs, providing an unbiased means of separating cortical from trabecular bone. Significance: Automating the segmentation of variably thick cortices will allow for the evaluation of large data sets in a time-efficient manner and allow for full-field analyses that have been previously limited to small regions of interest. The MATLAB code can be downloaded from https://github.com/TBL-UIUC/downloads.git.",
keywords = "bone, cortical, feature extraction, high-resolution imaging, image analysis, image processing, image segmentation, MATLAB, morphological operations",
author = "Ang, {Ida C.} and Maria Fox and Polk, {John D.} and Kersh, {Mariana E.}",
year = "2019",
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N2 - Objective: Structural measurements after separation of cortical from trabecular bone are of interest to a wide variety of communities but are difficult to obtain because of the lack of accurate automated techniques. Methods: We d present a structure-based algorithm for separating cortical from trabecular bone in binarized images. Using the thickness of the cortex as a seed value, bone connected to the cortex within a spatially local threshold value is identified and separated from the remaining bone. The algorithm was tested on seven biological data sets from four species imaged using micro-computed tomography (μ-CT) and high-resolution peripheral quantitative computed tomography (HR-pQCT). Area and local thickness measurements were compared to images segmented manually. Results: The algorithm was approximately 11 times faster than manual measurements and the median error in cortical area was -4.47 ± 4.15%. The median error in cortical thickness was approximately 0.5 voxels for μ-CT data and less than 0.05 voxels for HR-pQCT images resulting in an overall difference of -28.1 ± 71.1 μm. Conclusion: A simple and readily implementable methodology has been developed that is repeatable, efficient, and requires few user inputs, providing an unbiased means of separating cortical from trabecular bone. Significance: Automating the segmentation of variably thick cortices will allow for the evaluation of large data sets in a time-efficient manner and allow for full-field analyses that have been previously limited to small regions of interest. The MATLAB code can be downloaded from https://github.com/TBL-UIUC/downloads.git.

AB - Objective: Structural measurements after separation of cortical from trabecular bone are of interest to a wide variety of communities but are difficult to obtain because of the lack of accurate automated techniques. Methods: We d present a structure-based algorithm for separating cortical from trabecular bone in binarized images. Using the thickness of the cortex as a seed value, bone connected to the cortex within a spatially local threshold value is identified and separated from the remaining bone. The algorithm was tested on seven biological data sets from four species imaged using micro-computed tomography (μ-CT) and high-resolution peripheral quantitative computed tomography (HR-pQCT). Area and local thickness measurements were compared to images segmented manually. Results: The algorithm was approximately 11 times faster than manual measurements and the median error in cortical area was -4.47 ± 4.15%. The median error in cortical thickness was approximately 0.5 voxels for μ-CT data and less than 0.05 voxels for HR-pQCT images resulting in an overall difference of -28.1 ± 71.1 μm. Conclusion: A simple and readily implementable methodology has been developed that is repeatable, efficient, and requires few user inputs, providing an unbiased means of separating cortical from trabecular bone. Significance: Automating the segmentation of variably thick cortices will allow for the evaluation of large data sets in a time-efficient manner and allow for full-field analyses that have been previously limited to small regions of interest. The MATLAB code can be downloaded from https://github.com/TBL-UIUC/downloads.git.

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