Background: There are no proven radiographic guidelines for predicting fracture risk in children and young adults with a benign skeletal lesion. An in vivo diagnostic study was conducted to determine whether a reduction in the load-carrying capacity of a bone measured with quantitative computed tomography was more accurate than current radiographic guidelines for predicting pathologic fracture in patients with a benign skeletal lesion.
Methods: Eighteen patients who presented with a fracture through a benign skeletal lesion were compared with eighteen patients who had a benign skeletal lesion that had been thought to be at increased risk for fracture on the basis of currently used radiographic criteria but had not fractured over a two-year period. Structural analysis was performed to calculate the resistance of the affected bones to compressive, bending, and torsional loads with use of serial transaxial quantitative computed tomography data obtained along the length of the bone containing the lesion and from homologous cross sections through the contralateral, normal bone. At each cross section, the ratio of the structural rigidity of the affected bone divided by that of the normal, contralateral bone was determined. The cross section with the greatest reduction in compressive, bending, and torsional rigidity was identified as that most likely to fracture.
Results: The mean age (and standard deviation) of the thirty-six patients was 12.5 ± 3.6 years. Twenty lesions were located in the femur; eleven, in the tibia; three, in the humerus; one, in the ulna; and one, in the pelvis. A combination of the minimum bending and torsional rigidities calculated from the tomographic data provided optimal performance in differentiating between the fracture and non-fracture groups (100% sensitivity and 94% specificity). In contrast, plain radiographic criteria demonstrated 28% to 83% sensitivity and 6% to 78% specificity.
Conclusions: The combination of bending and torsional rigidity measured noninvasively with quantitative computed tomography was more accurate (97%) for predicting pathologic fracture through benign bone lesions in children than were standard radiographic criteria (42% to 61% accuracy). We believe that this method can provide accurate objective criteria for planning treatment of benign bone lesions and monitoring treatment response.
Level of Evidence: Therapeutic Level III. See Instructions to Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.
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In support of their research for preparation of this manuscript, one or more of the authors received grants or outside funding from the Whitaker Foundation, Rosslyn, Virginia, and National Cancer Institute Extramural Activities Grant EPN/636 2 RO1 CA40211-13. None of the authors received payments or other benefits or a commitment or agreement to provide such benefits from a commercial entity. No commercial entity paid or directed, or agreed to pay or direct, any benefits to any research fund, foundation, educational institution, or other charitable or nonprofit organization with which the authors are affiliated or associated.
Investigation performed at Children's Hospital and the Orthopaedic Biomechanics Laboratory, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston, Massachusetts
- Copyright © 2006 by The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, Incorporated
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