3D reconstruction of long bones utilising magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)

Rathnayaka Mudiyanselage, Kanchana (2011) 3D reconstruction of long bones utilising magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). PhD by Publication, Queensland University of Technology.


The design of pre-contoured fracture fixation implants (plates and nails) that correctly fit the anatomy of a patient utilises 3D models of long bones with accurate geometric representation. 3D data is usually available from computed tomography (CT) scans of human cadavers that generally represent the above 60 year old age group. Thus, despite the fact that half of the seriously injured population comes from the 30 year age group and below, virtually no data exists from these younger age groups to inform the design of implants that optimally fit patients from these groups. Hence, relevant bone data from these age groups is required. The current gold standard for acquiring such data–CT–involves ionising radiation and cannot be used to scan healthy human volunteers. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) has been shown to be a potential alternative in the previous studies conducted using small bones (tarsal bones) and parts of the long bones. However, in order to use MRI effectively for 3D reconstruction of human long bones, further validations using long bones and appropriate reference standards are required. Accurate reconstruction of 3D models from CT or MRI data sets requires an accurate image segmentation method. Currently available sophisticated segmentation methods involve complex programming and mathematics that researchers are not trained to perform. Therefore, an accurate but relatively simple segmentation method is required for segmentation of CT and MRI data. Furthermore, some of the limitations of 1.5T MRI such as very long scanning times and poor contrast in articular regions can potentially be reduced by using higher field 3T MRI imaging. However, a quantification of the signal to noise ratio (SNR) gain at the bone - soft tissue interface should be performed; this is not reported in the literature. As MRI scanning of long bones has very long scanning times, the acquired images are more prone to motion artefacts due to random movements of the subject‟s limbs. One of the artefacts observed is the step artefact that is believed to occur from the random movements of the volunteer during a scan. This needs to be corrected before the models can be used for implant design. As the first aim, this study investigated two segmentation methods: intensity thresholding and Canny edge detection as accurate but simple segmentation methods for segmentation of MRI and CT data. The second aim was to investigate the usability of MRI as a radiation free imaging alternative to CT for reconstruction of 3D models of long bones. The third aim was to use 3T MRI to improve the poor contrast in articular regions and long scanning times of current MRI. The fourth and final aim was to minimise the step artefact using 3D modelling techniques. The segmentation methods were investigated using CT scans of five ovine femora. The single level thresholding was performed using a visually selected threshold level to segment the complete femur. For multilevel thresholding, multiple threshold levels calculated from the threshold selection method were used for the proximal, diaphyseal and distal regions of the femur. Canny edge detection was used by delineating the outer and inner contour of 2D images and then combining them to generate the 3D model. Models generated from these methods were compared to the reference standard generated using the mechanical contact scans of the denuded bone. The second aim was achieved using CT and MRI scans of five ovine femora and segmenting them using the multilevel threshold method. A surface geometric comparison was conducted between CT based, MRI based and reference models. To quantitatively compare the 1.5T images to the 3T MRI images, the right lower limbs of five healthy volunteers were scanned using scanners from the same manufacturer. The images obtained using the identical protocols were compared by means of SNR and contrast to noise ratio (CNR) of muscle, bone marrow and bone. In order to correct the step artefact in the final 3D models, the step was simulated in five ovine femora scanned with a 3T MRI scanner. The step was corrected using the iterative closest point (ICP) algorithm based aligning method. The present study demonstrated that the multi-threshold approach in combination with the threshold selection method can generate 3D models from long bones with an average deviation of 0.18 mm. The same was 0.24 mm of the single threshold method. There was a significant statistical difference between the accuracy of models generated by the two methods. In comparison, the Canny edge detection method generated average deviation of 0.20 mm. MRI based models exhibited 0.23 mm average deviation in comparison to the 0.18 mm average deviation of CT based models. The differences were not statistically significant. 3T MRI improved the contrast in the bone–muscle interfaces of most anatomical regions of femora and tibiae, potentially improving the inaccuracies conferred by poor contrast of the articular regions. Using the robust ICP algorithm to align the 3D surfaces, the step artefact that occurred by the volunteer moving the leg was corrected, generating errors of 0.32 ± 0.02 mm when compared with the reference standard. The study concludes that magnetic resonance imaging, together with simple multilevel thresholding segmentation, is able to produce 3D models of long bones with accurate geometric representations. The method is, therefore, a potential alternative to the current gold standard CT imaging.

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ID Code: 49779
Item Type: QUT Thesis (PhD by Publication)
Supervisor: Schuetz, Michael, Sahama, Tony, & Schmutz, Beat
Keywords: magnetic resonance imaging, computed tomography, image segmentation, 3D models, long bones, thresholding, edge detection, multi thresholding, higher field MRI, musculoskeletal MRI, motion artefacts, validation
Divisions: Past > QUT Faculties & Divisions > Faculty of Built Environment and Engineering
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Past > Schools > School of Engineering Systems
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Deposited On: 18 Apr 2012 06:32
Last Modified: 18 Apr 2012 06:32

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