Application of Magnetic Resonance Imaging to Evaluation of Femoral Neck Structure in Growing Girls

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Conventional density measures by dualenergy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) are confounded by increases in bone size and do not assess bone geometry. We assessed precision of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and used MRI, DXA, and hip structure analysis (HSA) to assess 7-mo changes in bone structure at the femoral neck in 18 prepubertal girls. At baseline, girls were 10.4 (0.5) yr, 144.0 (8.2) cm, and 35.2 (7.0) kg, on average. Total bone and cortical cross-sectional area (ToA and CoA) were calculated from high-resolution T1- weighted MRI oblique axial images of the femoral neck. We used proximal femur DXA scans (Hologic QDR-4500) and the HSA program to estimate bone cross-sectional area (CSA), and calculate section modulus. MRI precision was determined by scanning 10 volunteers (13–46 yr old) three times with and without repositioning. Precision (CVrms) was 2% for ToA and 7% for CoA. Significant correlations were observed between FN area and MRI-derived ToA (r = 0.57, p = 0.013) and CoA (r = 0.47, p = 0.050). There were significant positive changes over 7 mo by both methods. In conclusion, MRI provides useful information on femoral neck bone area in children. The reproducibility of cortical dimensions at the femoral neck needs improvement through technical modifications and appropriate analysis software.

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