Computed Tomography Rigidity Analysis Research
About Our CTRA Research
The assessment of fracture risk in patients afflicted with osseous neoplasms has long presented a problem for orthopedic oncologists. These patients are at risk for developing pathologic fractures through lytic defects in the appendicular and axial skeleton with devastating consequences on their quality of life. Lesions with a high risk of fracture may require prophylactic surgical stabilization, whereas low-risk lesions can be treated conservatively. Therefore, effective prevention of pathologic fractures depends on accurate assessment of fracture risk and is a critical step to avoid debilitating complications. Given the complex nature of osseous neoplasms, treatment requires a multidisciplinary approach; yet, little consensus regarding fracture risk assessment exists among physicians involved in the care of these patients. In order to improve the overall standard of care, specific criteria must be adopted to formulate consistent and accurate fracture risk predictions. However, clinicians make subjective assessments about fracture risk on plain radiographs using guidelines now recognized to be inaccurate. Osseous neoplasms alter both the material and geometric properties of bone; failure to account for changes in both of these parameters limits the accuracy of current fracture risk assessments. Rigidity, the capacity to resist deformation upon loading, is a structural property that integrates both the material and geometric properties of bone. Therefore, rigidity can be used as a mechanical assay of the changes induced by lytic lesions to the structural competency of bone. Using this principle, we have developed and validated computed tomography (CT)-based structural rigidity analysis (CTRA) as a non-invasive tool to assess fracture risk in this patient population. We are currently in the process of transferring this technology for use in the clinical setting.