Development of a phantom for morphometric X-ray absorptiometry

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Morphometric X-ray absorptiometry (MXA) has recently been developed to assess vertebral deformity status using dual energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) machines. In contrast to bone densitometry, a vertebral morphometry phantom is not supplied by any machine manufacturer. The aim of this study was to develop a suitable phantom to quantify the accuracy and precision or the vertebral measurement software on three DXA scanners in vitro and to perform a weekly quality control (QC) scan over a 30-month period to evaluate any drift or changes in measurement accuracy over time. The phantom was constructed from Perspex and aluminium to simulate sort tissue and bone, respectively. 13 aluminium rectangles teach 30 mm wide, 25 mm high and 3 mm thick, with edges ("endplates") 6 mm thick) were set into one side of a solid Perspex block to represent the vertebral bodies from the fourth thoracic (T4) to the fourth lumbar (L4). The phantom was scanned on both the Hologic QDR2000plus and the QDR-4500A as well as the Lunar Expert-XL. Three consecutive lateral MXA scans were acquired on the Hologic machines using each of the scan modes available. On the QDR-2000plus, the lateral scan modes available are fast, array and high definition, which are all dual energy modes. These three scan modes are also available on the QDR-4500A, with the addition of a single energy scan mode. Four lateral scans were acquired on the Expert-XL machine using the single scan mode available. Each MXA scan was analysed twice by a trained operator using the standard software supplied by each manufacturer. A QC scan was performed approximately weekly over a 30-month period on only the QDR-4500A machine, and total phantom height was measured from the inferior edge of L4 to the superior edge of T4. Accuracy of "vertebral" height measurement varied between the three DXA machines and between the scan modes available. All underestimated "true" Vertebral height by between 0.4% and 8.6%, with the scan modes using finer collimation producing the most accurate results. Repeat analysis precision of vertebral height measurement was best on the QDR-4500A, followed by the Expert-XL, and was poorest on the QDR-2001plus. The QC scans acquired on the QDR-4500A suggested that it was a highly stable machine, little affected by even major repairs. It must be remembered that these ir? vitro phantom results may not be representative of the true in vivo situation. The MXA phantom appears to be a useful tool for documenting the stability of the mechanical instruments and for checking the long-term consistency of operator precision.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)341 - 350
Number of pages10
JournalBritish Journal of Radiology
Issue number880
Publication statusPublished - 2001


Dive into the research topics of 'Development of a phantom for morphometric X-ray absorptiometry'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this