A novel MRI tool for evaluating cortical bone thickness of the proximal femur

Austin J. Ramme, Shaleen Vira, Alexandra Hotca, Rhiannon Miller, Arakua Welbeck, Stephen Honig, Kenneth A. Egol, Chamith S. Rajapakse, Gregory Chang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Background: Osteoporotic hip fractures heavily cost the health care system. Clinicians and patients can benefit from improved tools to assess bone health. Herein, we aim to develop a three-dimensional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) method to assess cortical bone thickness and assess the ability of the method to detect regional changes in the proximal femur. Methods: Eighty-nine patients underwent hip magnetic resonance imaging. FireVoxel and 3DSlicer were used to generate three-dimensional proximal femur models. ParaView was used to define five regions: head, neck, greater trochanter, intertrochanteric region, and subtrochanteric region. Custom software was used to calculate the cortical bone thickness and generate a color map of the proximal femur. Mean cortical thickness values for each region were calculated. Statistical t-tests were performed to evaluate differences in cortical thickness based on proximal femur region. Measurement reliability was evaluated using coefficient of variation, intraclass correlation coefficients, and overlap metrics. Results: Three-dimensional regional cortical thickness maps for all subjects were generated. The subtrochanteric region was found to have the thickest cortical bone and the femoral head had the thinnest cortical bone. There were statistically significant differences between regions (p < 0.01) for all possible comparisons. Conclusions: Cortical bone is an important contributor to bone strength, and its thinning results in increased hip fracture risk. We describe the development and measurement reproducibility of an MRI tool permitting assessment of proximal femur cortical thickness. This study represents an important step toward longitudinal clinical trials interested in monitoring the effectiveness of drug therapy on proximal femur cortical thickness.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)115-121
Number of pages7
JournalBulletin of the Hospital for Joint Diseases
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2019
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Rheumatology
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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