A method for assessment of the shape of the proximal femur and its relationship to osteoporotic hip fracture

Jennifer Susan Gregory, D. Testi, Alison Stewart, Peter Edward Undrill, David M Reid, Richard Malcolm Aspden

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76 Citations (Scopus)


The shape of the proximal femur has been demonstrated to be important in the occurrence of fractures of the femoral neck. Unfortunately, multiple geometric measurements frequently used to describe this shape are highly correlated. A new method, active shape modeling (ASM) has been developed to quantify the morphology of the femur. This describes the shape in terms of orthogonal modes of variation that, consequently, are all independent. To test this method, digitized standard pelvic radiographs were obtained from 26 women who had suffered a hip fracture and compared with images from 24 age-matched controls with no fracture. All subjects also had their bone mineral density (BMD) measured at five sites using dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry. An ASM was developed and principal components analysis used to identify the modes which best described the shape. Discriminant analysis was used to determine which variable, or combination of variables, was best able to discriminate between the groups. ASM alone correctly identified 74% of the individuals and placed them in the appropriate group. Only one of the BMD values (Ward's triangle) achieved a higher value (82%). A combination of Ward's triangle BMD and ASM improved the accuracy to 90%. Geometric variables used in this study were weaker, correctly classifying less than 60% of the study group. Logistic regression showed that after adjustment for age, body mass index, and BMD, the ASM data was still independently associated with hip fracture (odds ratio (OR)=1.83, 95% confidence interval 1.08 to 3.11). The odds ratio was calculated relative to a 10% increase in the probability of belonging to the fracture group. Though these initial results were obtained from a limited data set, this study shows that ASM may be a powerful method to help identify individuals at risk of a hip fracture in the future.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5-11
Number of pages6
JournalOsteoporosis International
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2004


  • active shape model
  • bone mineral density
  • femur
  • fracture
  • geometry
  • osteoporosis
  • femoral geometry
  • models
  • women
  • density
  • length
  • risk
  • men


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