Feasibility study for a clinical application of digital volume correlation

Marco Palanca, Luca Cristofolini, Martino Pani, Edmond Kinene, Gordon William Blunn, Kamel Madi, Gianluca Tozzi

Research output: Contribution to journalMeeting Abstractpeer-review


DVC allowed measurements of displacement and strain distribution in bone through the comparison of two, or more, 3D images. Hence, it has a potential as a diagnostic tool in combination with clinical CT. Currently, traditional computed tomography (CT) allows for a detailed 3D analysis of hard tissues, but imaging in a weight-bearing condition is still limited. PedCAT-CT (Curvebeam, USA) emerged as a novel technology allowing, for the first time, 3D imaging under full-weight bearing (Richter, Zech et al. 2015). Specifically, a PedCAT-CT based DVC was employed to establish its reliability through the strain uncertainties produced on bone structure targets, preliminarily to any further clinical studies. In addition, a reverse engineering FE modeling was used to predict possible force associated to displacement errors from DVC.

Three porcine thoracic vertebrae were used as bone benchmark for the DVC (Palanca, Tozzi et al. 2016, Tozzi, Dall'Ara et al. 2016). The choice of using porcine vertebrae (in a CT designed for foot/ankle) was driven by availability, as well as similar dimensions to the calcaneus. Each vertebra was immersed in saline solution and scanned twice without any repositioning (zero-strain-test) with a pedCAT-CT (Curvebeam, USA) obtaining an isotropic voxel size of 370 micrometers. Volumes of interest of 35 voxel were cropped inside the vertebrae. Displacement and strains were evaluated using DVC (DaVis-DC, LaVision, Germany), with different spatial resolution. The displacement maps were used to predict the force uncertainties via FE (Ansys Mechanical v.14, Ansys Inc, Canonsburg, PA). Each element was assigned a linear elastic isotropic constitutive law (Young modulus: 8 GPa, Poisson's ratio: 0.3, as in (Follet, Peyrin et al. 2007)). Overall, the precision error of strain measurement was evaluated as the average of the standard deviation of the absolute value of the different component of strain (Liu and Morgan 2007).

The force uncertainties obtained with the FE analysis produced magnitudes ranging from 231 to 2376 N. No clear trend on the force was observed in relation to the spatial resolution. Precision errors were smaller than 1000 microstrain in all cases, with the lowest ranging from 83 microstrain for the largest spatial resolution. Full-field strain on the bone tissue did not seem to highlight a preferential distribution of error in the volume.

The precision errors showed that the pedCAT-CT based DVC can be sufficient to investigate the bone tissue failure (7000–10000 microstrain) or, physiological deformation if well-optimized. FE analysis produced important force uncertainties up to 2376 N. However, this is a preliminary investigation. Further investigation will give a clearer indication on DVC based PedCAT-CT, as well as force uncertainties predicted. So far, the DVC showed its ability to measure displacement and strain with reasonable reliability with clinical-CT as well.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)18-18
Number of pages1
JournalOrthopaedic Proceedings: A Supplement to The Bone and Joint Journal
Issue numberSUPP 2
Publication statusPublished - 9 Jan 2017


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