A computational framework for canonical holistic morphometric analysis of trabecular bone

Sebastian Bachmann, Christopher J Dunmore, Matthew M Skinner, Dieter H Pahr, Alexander Synek

Research output: Journal article (peer-reviewed)Journal article

4 Citations (Scopus)


Bone is a remarkable, living tissue that functionally adapts to external loading. Therefore, bone shape and internal structure carry information relevant to many disciplines, including medicine, forensic science, and anthropology. However, morphometric comparisons of homologous regions across different individuals or groups are still challenging. In this study, two methods were combined to quantify such differences: (1) Holistic morphometric analysis (HMA) was used to quantify morphometric values in each bone, (2) which could then be mapped to a volumetric mesh of a canonical bone created by a statistical free-form deformation model (SDM). Required parameters for this canonical holistic morphometric analysis (cHMA) method were identified and the robustness of the method was evaluated. The robustness studies showed that the SDM converged after one to two iterations, had only a marginal bias towards the chosen starting image, and could handle large shape differences seen in bones of different species. Case studies were performed on metacarpal bones and proximal femora of different primate species to confirm prior study results. The differences between species could be visualised and statistically analysed in both case studies. cHMA provides a framework for performing quantitative comparisons of different morphometric quantities across individuals or groups. These comparisons facilitate investigation of the relationship between spatial morphometric variations and function or pathology, or both.

Original languageEnglish
Article number5187
Pages (from-to)5187
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022


  • Animals
  • Bone and Bones
  • Cancellous Bone/diagnostic imaging
  • Femur
  • Primates


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