The purpose of this study was to develop novel three-dimensional (3D) measures of bone density from computed tomography (CT) scans and to compare them with validated two-dimensional (2D) radiographic assessments of bone density. Patient demographic data were also analyzed to see if there were any predictors of bone density (age, sex, etiology).

The study group consisted of 290 consecutive patients undergoing primary shoulder arthroplasty surgery (total anatomic, reverse, and hemiarthroplasty). All underwent preoperative CT imaging. Three 3D CT measurements (metaphysis cancellous, metaphysis cortical, and proximal diaphysis) were developed and automated into software. The developed 3D measurements were compared with validated 2D measures (Tingart and Gianotti Index). Patient demographic data were correlated with these measurements. The difference between the size of the final sounder and of the final stem was calculated as Delta.

There was moderately strong correlation between Tingart and Gianotti measures (0.674, P <  .001), as well as between 3D metaphysis cancellous measurements and Tingart (0.645, P <  .001). Decreased bone density was highly correlated with female sex. Tingart (area under the curve [AUC]: 0.87, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.82-0.91) and 3D metaphysis cancellous (AUC: 0.78, 95% CI: 0.72-0.84) had the highest correlation. These were significantly more than other measures of bone density (P <  .01). Decreased bone density measured with Tingart also had moderate correlation with advanced age (AUC: 0.67, 95% CI: 0.6-0.73), but less so for etiology (AUC: 0.62, 95% CI: 0.55-0.69). The 3D metaphysis cancellous measure had lower correlation with age (AUC: 0.59, 95% CI: 0.52-0.66) and etiology (AUC: 0.59, 95% CI: 0.52-0.65). The highest correlation with Delta (the difference between the final sounder and the stem size) was with the 3D metaphysis cancellous measure (AUC: 0.67, 95% CI: 0.59-0.73), followed by Tingart (AUC: 0.647, 95% CI: 0.57-0.671). A multiple regression model to predict Delta demonstrated the stronger prediction using 3D metaphysis cancellous (analysis of variance F-ratio of 42.6, P <  .001) than Tingart (35.9, P <  .001).

This study demonstrates that automated measures of bone density can be obtained from 3D CT scans. Of the three novel 3D measurements of bone density, the humeral metaphysis cancellous measurement was most correlated to the known 2D measures and most correlated to the intraoperative assessment of bone density (delta).

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