Finite Element Analysis of Osteoporotic and Osteoblastic Vertebrae and Its Association With the Proton Density Fat Fraction From Chemical Shift Encoding-Based Water-Fat MRI – A Preliminary Study

Tobias Greve, Nithin Manohar Rayudu, Michael Dieckmeyer, Christof Boehm, Stefan Ruschke, Egon Burian, Christopher Kloth, Jan S. Kirschke, Dimitrios C. Karampinos, Thomas Baum, Karupppasamy Subburaj, Nico Sollmann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

Purpose: Osteoporosis is prevalent and entails alterations of vertebral bone and marrow. Yet, the spine is also a common site of metastatic spread. Parameters that can be non-invasively measured and could capture these alterations are the volumetric bone mineral density (vBMD), proton density fat fraction (PDFF) as an estimate of relative fat content, and failure displacement and load from finite element analysis (FEA) for assessment of bone strength. This study’s purpose was to investigate if osteoporotic and osteoblastic metastatic changes in lumbar vertebrae can be differentiated based on the abovementioned parameters (vBMD, PDFF, and measures from FEA), and how these parameters correlate with each other. Materials and Methods: Seven patients (3 females, median age: 77.5 years) who received 3-Tesla magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and multi-detector computed tomography (CT) of the lumbar spine and were diagnosed with either osteoporosis (4 patients) or diffuse osteoblastic metastases (3 patients) were included. Chemical shift encoding-based water-fat MRI (CSE-MRI) was used to extract the PDFF, while vBMD was extracted after automated vertebral body segmentation using CT. Segmentation masks were used for FEA-based failure displacement and failure load calculations. Failure displacement, failure load, and PDFF were compared between patients with osteoporotic vertebrae versus patients with osteoblastic metastases, considering non-fractured vertebrae (L1-L4). Associations between those parameters were assessed using Spearman correlation. Results: Median vBMD was 59.3 mg/cm3 in osteoporotic patients. Median PDFF was lower in the metastatic compared to the osteoporotic patients (11.9% vs. 43.8%, p=0.032). Median failure displacement and failure load were significantly higher in metastatic compared to osteoporotic patients (0.874 mm vs. 0.348 mm, 29,589 N vs. 3,095 N, p=0.034 each). A strong correlation was noted between PDFF and failure displacement (rho -0.679, p=0.094). A very strong correlation was noted between PDFF and failure load (rho -0.893, p=0.007). Conclusion: PDFF as well as failure displacement and load allowed to distinguish osteoporotic from diffuse osteoblastic vertebrae. Our findings further show strong associations between PDFF and failure displacement and load, thus may indicate complimentary pathophysiological associations derived from two non-invasive techniques (CSE-MRI and CT) that inherently measure different properties of vertebral bone and marrow.

Original languageEnglish
Article number900356
JournalFrontiers in Endocrinology
Volume13
DOIs
StatePublished - 11 Jul 2022
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • bone mineral density
  • finite element analysis
  • magnetic resonance imaging
  • metastasis
  • osteoporosis
  • proton density fat fraction
  • spinal neoplasms
  • vertebral fractures

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