Three-Dimensional Ultrasound Versus Computerized Tomography in Fat Graft Volumetric Analysis

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Abstract

Studies evaluating fat grafting in mice have frequently used micro–computed tomography (micro-CT) as an accurate radiographic tool to measure longitudinal volume retention without killing the animal. Over the past decade, however, microultrasonography has emerged as an equally powerful preclinical imaging tool. Given their respective strengths in 3-dimensional reconstruction, there is no study to our knowledge that directly compares micro-CT with microultrasound in volumetric analysis. In this study, we compared the performance of micro-CT with microultrasound in the evaluation of adipose tissue graft volume in a murine model. Fifteen immunodeficient mice were given 200 μL of adipose tissue grafts. In vivo volumetric analysis of the grafts by micro-CT and microultrasound was conducted at discrete time points up to postoperative day 105. Three mice were killed at multiple time points, and explanted grafts were reimaged by CT and ultrasound, as mentioned previously. Analysis revealed that in vivo graft volumes measured by micro-CT do not differ significantly from those of microultrasound. Furthermore, both micro-CT and microultrasound were capable of accurately measuring fat grafts as in vivo volumes closely correlated with explanted volumes. Finally, ultrasound was found to yield improved soft tissue contrast compared with micro-CT. Therefore, either modality may be used, depending on experimental needs.

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