An investigation of thoracic and lumbar cancellous vertebral architecture using power-spectral analysis of plain radiographs

Alanah Buck, R.I. Price, I.M. Sweetman, Charles Oxnard

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    11 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    The internal architecture of the vertebral bodies spanning the levels T1 to L5 in seven male columns was studied using mammographic-resolution radiographs of 2.5-mm-thick planar parasagittal slices. The overlapping radiographic shadows of vertebral trabeculae combined in the image to form a series of 'elements', broadly representative of the cancellous structure. The orientations and sizes of these elements were analysed by applying the Fast Fourier transform (FFT) to the digitized radiographic images. Elements aligned in the 'vertical' orientation, along the long axis of the column, were the most prominent for all vertebral levels. The relative prominence of horizontal to vertical elements was generally constant along the column below T5. In contrast, the relative prominence of oblique to vertical elements declined in the cranio-caudal direction, particularly in individuals aged greater than or equal to 60 years. The ratio of 'large' (x > 0.3 mm) to 'small' (0.15 mm less than or equal to x less than or equal to 0.3 mm) elements was unchanged cranio-caudally in specimens <60 years. However, in individuals &GE; 60 years, large elements increased in relative prominence in the caudal direction. These results suggest that a basic orthogonal pattern of trabeculae is found along the male human spine, regardless of differences in vertebral body size. Power-spectral analysis is shown to yield information summarizing the predominant orientations and sizes of radiographically rendered architectural elements of vertebral cancellous bone, to define the effects of ageing on architecture, and to identify broad structural differences between vertebral levels in the adult male spine.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)445-456
    JournalJournal of Anatomy
    Volume200
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2002

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