Slot-scan dual-energy bone densitometry using motorized X-ray systems

Chumin Zhao, Magdalena Herbst, Thomas Weber, Christoph Luckner, Sebastian Vogt, Ludwig Ritschl, Steffen Kappler, Jeffrey H. Siewerdsen, Wojciech Zbijewski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: We investigate the feasibility of slot-scan dual-energy (DE) bone densitometry on motorized radiographic equipment. This approach will enable fast quantitative measurements of areal bone mineral density (aBMD) for opportunistic evaluation of osteoporosis. Methods: We investigated DE slot-scan protocols to obtain aBMD measurements at the lumbar spine (L-spine) and hip using a motorized x-ray platform capable of synchronized translation of the x-ray source and flat-panel detector (FPD). The slot dimension was 5 × 20 cm2. The DE slot views were processed as follows: (1) convolution kernel-based scatter correction, (2) unfiltered backprojection to tile the slots into long-length radiographs, and (3) projection-domain DE decomposition, consisting of an initial adipose–water decomposition in a bone-free region followed by water–CaHA decomposition with adjustment for adipose content. The accuracy and reproducibility of slot-scan aBMD measurements were investigated using a high-fidelity simulator of a robotic x-ray system (Siemens Multitom Rax) in a total of 48 body phantom realizations: four average bone density settings (cortical bone mass fraction: 10–40%), four body sizes (waist circumference, WC = 70–106 cm), and three lateral shifts of the body within the slot field of view (FOV) (centered and ±1 cm off-center). Experimental validations included: (1) x-ray test-bench feasibility study of adipose–water decomposition and (2) initial demonstration of slot-scan DE bone densitometry on the robotic x-ray system using the European Spine Phantom (ESP) with added attenuation (polymethyl methacrylate [PMMA] slabs) ranging 2 to 6 cm thick. Results: For the L-spine, the mean aBMD error across all WC settings ranged from 0.08 g/cm2 for phantoms with average cortical bone fraction wcortical = 10% to ∼0.01 g/cm2 for phantoms with wcortical = 40%. The L-spine aBMD measurements were fairly robust to changes in body size and positioning, e.g., coefficient of variation (CV) for L1 with wcortical = 30% was ∼0.034 for various WC and ∼0.02 for an obese patient (WC = 106 cm) changing lateral shift. For the hip, the mean aBMD error across all phantom configurations was about 0.07 g/cm2 for a centered patient. The reproducibility of hip aBMD was slightly worse than in the L-spine (e.g., in the femoral neck, the CV with respect to changing WC was ∼0.13 for phantom realizations with wcortical = 30%) due to more challenging scatter estimation in the presence of an air–tissue interface within the slot FOV. The aBMD of the hip was therefore sensitive to lateral positioning of the patient, especially for obese patients: e.g., the CV with respect to patient lateral shift for femoral neck with WC = 106 cm and wcortical = 30% was 0.14. Empirical evaluations confirmed substantial reduction in aBMD errors with the proposed adipose estimation procedure and demonstrated robust aBMD measurements on the robotic x-ray system, with aBMD errors of ∼0.1 g/cm2 across all three simulated ESP vertebrae and all added PMMA attenuator settings. Conclusions: We demonstrated that accurate aBMD measurements can be obtained on a motorized FPD-based x-ray system using DE slot-scans with kernel-based scatter correction, backprojection-based slot view tiling, and DE decomposition with adipose correction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6673-6695
Number of pages23
JournalMedical physics
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2021


  • bone mineral density (BMD)
  • dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DXA)
  • quantitative measurement
  • robotic x-ray systems
  • slot-scan

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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