Voxel effects within digital images of trabecular bone and their consequences on chord-length distribution measurements

D. A. Rajon, D. W. Jokisch, P. W. Patton, A. P. Shah, C. J. Watchman, W. E. Bolch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Chord-length distributions through the trabecular regions of the skeleton have been investigated since the early 1960s. These distributions have become important features for bone marrow dosimetry; as such, current models rely on the accuracy of their measurements. Recent techniques utilize nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) microscopy to acquire 3D images of trabecular bone that are then used to measure 3D chord-length distributions by Monte Carlo methods. Previous studies have shown that two voxel effects largely affect the acquisition of these distributions within digital images. One is particularly pertinent as it dramatically changes the shape of the distribution and reduces its mean. An attempt was made to reduce this undesirable effect and good results were obtained for a single-sphere model using minimum acceptable chord (MAC) methods (Jokisch et al. 2001 Med. Phys. 28 1493-504). The goal of the present work is to extend the study of these methods to more general models in order to better quantify their consequences. First, a mathematical model of a trabecular bone sample was used to test the usefulness of the MAC methods. The results showed that these methods were not efficient for this simulated bone model. These methods were further tested on a single voxelized sphere over a large range of voxel sizes. The results showed that the MAC methods are voxel-size dependent and overestimate the mean chord length for typical resolutions used with NMR microscopy. The study further suggests that bone marrow chord-length distributions currently utilized in skeletal dosimetry models are most likely affected by voxel effects that yield values of mean chord length lower than their true values.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1741-1759
Number of pages19
JournalPhysics in medicine and biology
Issue number10
StatePublished - May 21 2002

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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