Computed tomography assessment of pelvic bone density: Associations with age and pelvic fracture in motor vehicle crashes

Ashley A. Weaver, Isaac N. Ronning, William Armstrong, Anna N. Miller, Bahram Kiani, R. Shayn Martin, Kristen M. Beavers, Joel D. Stitzel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Motor vehicle crash (MVC) occupants routinely get a computed tomography (CT) scan to screen for internal injury, and this CT can be leveraged to opportunistically derive bone mineral density (BMD). This study aimed to develop and validate a method to measure pelvic BMD in CT scans without a phantom, and examine associations of pelvic BMD with age and pelvic fracture incidence in seriously injured MVC occupants from the Crash Injury Research and Engineering Network (CIREN) study. A phantom-less muscle-fat calibration technique to measure pelvic BMD was validated using 45 quantitative CT scans with a bone calibration phantom. The technique was then used to measure pelvic BMD from CT scans of 252 CIREN occupants (ages 16+) in frontal MVCs who had sustained either abdominal or pelvic injury. Pelvic BMD was analyzed in relation to age and pelvic fracture incidence. In the validation set, phantom-based calibration vs. phantom-less muscle-fat calibration yielded similar BMD values at the anterior superior iliac spine (ASIS; R2 = 0.95, p < 0.001) and iliac crest (R2 = 0.90, p < 0.001). Pelvic BMD was measured in 150 female and 102 male CIREN occupants aged 16–89, and 25% of these occupants sustained pelvic fracture. BMD at the ASIS and iliac crest declined with age (p < 0.001). For instance, iliac crest BMD decreased an average of 25 mg/cm3 per decade of age. The rate of iliac crest BMD decline was 7.6 mg/cm3 more per decade of age in occupants with pelvic fracture compared to those not sustaining pelvic fracture. Findings suggest pelvic BMD may be a contributing risk factor for pelvic fracture in MVCs.

Original languageEnglish
Article number107291
JournalAccident Analysis and Prevention
StatePublished - Dec 2023


  • Bone Mineral Density
  • Fracture
  • Imaging
  • Opportunistic
  • Pelvis
  • Radiology


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