Proton density fat fraction of the spinal column: an MRI cadaver study

Merle S. Losch, Akash Swamy, Adrian Elmi-Terander, Erik Edström, Benno H.W. Hendriks, Jenny Dankelman

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Abstract

Background: The increased popularity of minimally invasive spinal surgery calls for a revision of guidance techniques to prevent injuries of nearby neural and vascular structures. Lipid content has previously been proposed as a distinguishing criterion for different bone tissues to provide guidance along the interface of cancellous and cortical bone. This study aims to investigate how fat is distributed throughout the spinal column to confirm or refute the suitability of lipid content for guidance purposes. Results: Proton density fat fraction (PDFF) was assessed over all vertebral levels for six human cadavers between 53 and 92 years of age, based on fat and water MR images. According to their distance to the vertebra contour, the data points were grouped in five regions of interest (ROIs): cortical bone (−1 mm to 0 mm), pre-cortical zone (PCZ) 1–3 (0–1 mm; 1–2 mm; 2–3 mm), and cancellous bone (≥ 3 mm). For PCZ1 vs. PCZ2, a significant difference in mean PDFF of between −7.59 pp and −4.39 pp on average was found. For cortical bone vs. PCZ1, a significant difference in mean PDFF of between −27.09 pp and −18.96 pp on average was found. Conclusion: A relationship between distance from the cortical bone boundary and lipid content could be established, paving the way for guidance techniques based on fat fraction detection for spinal surgery.

Original languageEnglish
Article number7
Number of pages11
JournalBioMedical Engineering OnLine
Volume20
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Keywords

  • Bone detection
  • Lipid content
  • Magnetic resonance imaging
  • Minimally invasive spine surgery
  • Screw placement
  • OA-Fund TU Delft

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