A new approach to comprehensively evaluate the morphological properties of the human femoral head: example of application to osteoarthritic joint

Flow diagram illustrating the methods to extract the trabecular bone cortical bone volumes for morphometric analysis.

Osteoarthritis affects the properties of the joints, changing its shape and mechanical response, and inducing pain to the patient. However, little is known about how these properties are related to the function of the joint, which is fundamental to optimise prosthesis and other interventions for treating this disease. This is due to the fact that it is not easy to measure the properties of the involved bone due to limitation in imaging and analyses.  The goal of this study was to develop a method to elucidate whether changes due to the disease are localised to discrete regions of the femoral head in patients with hip osteoarthritis. Whole femoral heads extracted from osteoarthritic and healthy controls underwent high resolution images and the properties of the bone have been measured with some semi-automatic algorithms in 37 different regions of the femoral head. The study showed how the developed approach can be used to study the detailed regional effects of different diseases affecting the human femoral head, such as osteoarthritis, osteoporosis, or dysplasia. 

Ryan, M., Barnett, L., Rochester, J., Wilkinson, J. M., Dall’Ara, E. (2020), “A new approach to comprehensively evaluate the morphological properties of the human femoral head: example of application to osteoarthritic joint”, Scientific Reports, 10, Article number: 5538, URL: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-020-62614-7