Virtual supersampling as post-processing step preserves the trabecular bone morphometry in human peripheral quantitative computed tomography scans

Friederike A. Schulte, Patrik Christen, Sandro D. Badilatti, Ian Parkinson, Sundeep Khosla, Jörg Goldhahn, Ralph Müller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


In the clinical field of diagnosis and monitoring of bone diseases, high-resolution peripheral quantitative computed tomography (HR-pQCT) is an important imaging modality. It provides a resolution where quantitative bone morphometry can be extracted in vivo on patients. It is known that HR-pQCT provides slight differences in morphometric indices compared to the current standard approach micro-computed tomography (micro-CT). The most obvious reason for this is the restriction of the radiation dose and with this a lower image resolution. With advances in micro-CT evaluation techniques such as patient-specific remodeling simulations or dynamic bone morphometry, a higher image resolution would potentially also allow the application of such novel evaluation techniques to clinical HR-pQCT measurements. Virtual supersampling as post-processing step was considered to increase the image resolution of HR-pQCT scans. The hypothesis was that this technique preserves the structural bone morphometry. Supersampling from 82 μm to virtual 41 μm by trilinear interpolation of the grayscale values of 42 human cadaveric forearms resulted in strong correlations of structural parameters (R 2 : 0.96-1.00). BV/TV was slightly overestimated (4.3%, R 2 : 1.00) compared to the HR-pQCT resolution. Tb.N was overestimated (7.47%; R 2 : 0.99) and Tb.Th was slightly underestimated (-4.20%; R 2 : 0.98). The technique was reproducible with PE %CV between 1.96% (SMI) and 7.88% (Conn.D). In a clinical setting with 205 human forearms with or without fracture measured at 82 μm resolution HR-pQCT, the technique was sensitive to changes between groups in all parameters (p < 0.05) except trabecular thickness. In conclusion, we demonstrated that supersampling preserves the bone morphometry from HR-pQCT scans and is reproducible and sensitive to changes between groups. Supersampling can be used to investigate on the resolution dependency of HR-pQCT images and gain more insight into this imaging modality.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0212280
JournalPloS one
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2019


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)

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