A computational technique to measure fracture callus in radiographs

Biomechanics Laboratory, Legacy Research and Technology Center, Portland, OR 97232, USA.
Journal of Biomechanics (Impact Factor: 2.75). 11/2009; 43(4):792-5. DOI: 10.1016/j.jbiomech.2009.10.013
Source: PubMed


Callus formation occurs in the presence of secondary bone healing and has relevance to the fracture's mechanical environment. An objective image processing algorithm was developed to standardize the quantitative measurement of periosteal callus area in plain radiographs of long bone fractures. Algorithm accuracy and sensitivity were evaluated using surrogate models. For algorithm validation, callus formation on clinical radiographs was measured manually by orthopaedic surgeons and compared to non-clinicians using the algorithm. The algorithm measured the projected area of surrogate calluses with less than 5% error. However, error will increase when analyzing very small areas of callus and when using radiographs with low image resolution (i.e. 100 pixels per inch). The callus size extracted by the algorithm correlated well to the callus size outlined by the surgeons (R2=0.94, p<0.001). Furthermore, compared to clinician results, the algorithm yielded results with five times less inter-observer variance. This computational technique provides a reliable and efficient method to quantify secondary bone healing response.

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Available from: Steven M Madey, Oct 05, 2015
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    • "The accuracy of determining the callus area was better than 3% depending on the radiodensity of the callus tissue. A clinical validation of the algorithm was performed by comparing callus measurements made by the computer algorithm and by orthopaedic clinicians [11]. Overall, the clinicians and the automatic algorithm had a high positive correlation when analyzing areas of fracture callus (R 2 = 0.94, p < 0.001). "
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    ABSTRACT: Locked bridge plating relies on secondary bone healing, which requires interfragmentary motion for callus formation. This study evaluated healing of fractures stabilized with a locked plating construct and a far cortical locking construct, which is a modified locked plating approach that promotes interfragmentary motion. The study tested whether far cortical locking constructs can improve fracture-healing compared with standard locked plating constructs. In an established ovine tibial osteotomy model with a 3-mm gap size, twelve osteotomies were randomly stabilized with locked plating or far cortical locking constructs applied medially. The far cortical locking constructs were designed to provide 84% lower stiffness than the locked plating constructs and permitted nearly parallel gap motion. Fracture-healing was monitored on weekly radiographs. After the animals were killed at week 9, healed tibiae were analyzed by computed tomography, mechanical testing in torsion, and histological examination. Callus on weekly radiographs was greater in the far cortical locking constructs than in the locked plating constructs. At week 9, the far cortical locking group had a 36% greater callus volume (p = 0.03) and a 44% higher bone mineral content (p = 0.013) than the locked plating group. Callus in the locked plating specimens was asymmetric, having 49% less bone mineral content in the medial callus than in the lateral callus (p = 0.003). In far cortical locking specimens, medial and lateral callus had similar bone mineral content (p = 0.91). The far cortical locking specimens healed to be 54% stronger in torsion (p = 0.023) and sustained 156% greater energy to failure in torsion (p < 0.001) than locked plating specimens. Histologically, three of six locked plating specimens had deficient bridging across the medial cortex, while all remaining cortices had bridged. Inconsistent and asymmetric callus formation with locked plating constructs is likely due to their high stiffness and asymmetric gap closure. By providing flexible fixation and nearly parallel interfragmentary motion, far cortical locking constructs form more callus and heal to be stronger in torsion than locked plating constructs.
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