Proc Inst Mech Eng H. 2023 Dec 19:9544119231214651. doi: 10.1177/09544119231214651. Online ahead of print.
The diagnosis of osteoporosis using Dual-energy X-ray Absorptiometry (DXA) relies on accurate hip scans, whereby variability in measurements may be introduced by altered patient positioning, as could occur with repeated scans over time. The goal herein was to test how altered postures affect diagnostic metrics (i.e., standard clinical metrics and a newer image processing tool) for femur positioning. A device was built to support cadaveric femurs and adjust their orientation in 3° increments in flexion and internal/external rotation. Seven isolated femurs were scanned in six flexion postures (0° (neutral) to 15° of flexion) and eleven rotational postures (15° external to 15° internal rotation) while collecting standard clinical DXA-based measures for each scan. The fracture risk tool was applied to each scan to calculate fracture risk. Two separate one-way repeated measures ANOVAs (α = 0.05) were performed on the DXA-based measures and fracture risk prediction output. Flexion had a significant effect on T-score, Bone Mineral Density (BMD), and Bone Mineral Content (BMC), but not area, at angles greater than 12°. Internal and external rotation did not have a significant effect on any clinical metric. Fracture risk (as assessed by the image processing tool) was not affected by either rotation mode. Overall, this suggests clinicians can adjust patient posture to accommodate discomfort if deviations are less than 12 degrees, and the greatest care should be taken in flexion. Furthermore, the tool is relatively insensitive to postural adjustments, and as such may be a good option for tracking risk over repeated patient scans.