Objective—To evaluate the precision and accuracy of assessing bone mineral density (BMD) by use of mean gray value (MGV) on digitalized and digital images of conventional and digital radiographs, respectively, of ex vivo bovine and equine bone specimens in relation to the gold-standard technique of dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DEXA).
Sample—Left and right metatarsal bones from 11 beef cattle and right femurs from 2 horses.
Procedures—Bovine specimens were imaged by use of conventional radiography, whereas equine specimens were imaged by use of computed radiography (digital radiography). Each specimen was subsequently scanned by use of the same DEXA equipment. The BMD values resulting from each DEXA scan were paired with the MGVs obtained by use of software on the corresponding digitalized or digital radiographic image.
Results—The MGV analysis of digitalized and digital x-ray images was a precise (coefficient of variation, 0.1 and 0.09, respectively) and highly accurate method for assessing BMD, compared with DEXA (correlation coefficient, 0.910 and 0.937 for conventional and digital radiography, respectively).
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—The high correlation between MGV and BMD indicated that MGV analysis may be a reliable alternative to DEXA in assessing radiographic bone density. This may provide a new, inexpensive, and readily available estimate of BMD.