Identification of hip fracture patients from radiographs using Fourier analysis of the trabecular structure: a cross-sectional study

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

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This study presents an analysis of trabecular bone structure in standard radiographs using Fourier transforms and principal components analysis (PCA) to identify contributions to hip fracture risk.

Radiographs were obtained from 26 hip fracture patients and 24 controls. They were digitised and five regions of interest (ROI) were identified from the femoral head and neck for analysis. The power spectrum was obtained from the Fourier transform of each region and three profiles were produced; a circular profile and profiles parallel and perpendicular to the preferred orientation of the trabeculae. PCA was used to generate a score from each profile, which we hypothesised could be used to discriminate between the fracture and control groups. The fractal dimension was also calculated for comparison. The area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (Az) discriminating the hip fracture cases from controls was calculated for each analysis.

Texture analysis of standard radiographs using the fast Fourier transform yielded variables that were significantly associated with fracture and not significantly correlated with age, body mass index or femoral neck bone mineral density. The anisotropy of the trabecular structure was important; both the perpendicular and circular profiles were significantly better than the parallel-profile (P < 0.05). No significant differences resulted from using the various ROI within the proximal femur. For the best three groupings of profile (circular, parallel or perpendicular), method (PCA or fractal) and ROI (Az = 0.84 – 0.93), there were no significant correlations with femoral neck bone mineral density, age, or body mass index. PCA analysis was found to perform better than fractal analysis (P = 0.019).

Both PCA and fractal analysis of the FFT data could discriminate successfully between the fracture and control groups, although PCA was significantly stronger than fractal dimension. This method appears to provide a powerful tool for the assessment of bone structure in vivo with advantages over standard fractal methods.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4
JournalBMC Medical Imaging
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2004


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