Ting-Ting Xu, Xue-Ying Huang, Yan-Wei Jiang

September 2023, pp 1 - 7 Original Article Read Full Article 10.1007/s00586-023-07938-4

First Online: 16 September 2023


Hounsfield unit (HU) measurements and vertebral bone quality (VBQ) scores are opportunistic screening methods for evaluating bone quality. Since studies comparing the efficacies of the two methods are rare, this retrospective study aimed to examine the efficacy of VBQ scores compared with that of HU measurements for diagnosing osteoporosis in lumbar spine surgery patients.


We selected patients who had undergone spinal surgery between January 2020 and May 2022 from our database. The VBQ scores based on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and HU measurements based on computed tomography (CT) were calculated. Correlation analysis of the dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DEXA) T score and study parameters was performed. The Delong test and decision curve analysis (DCA) were used to compare the efficacies of the two methods.


We included 118 consecutive patients who underwent selective spinal surgery. The VBQ score and HU measurement were significantly correlated with the DEXA T score. Based on the Delong test, HU measurement predicted osteoporosis more effectively than the VBQ score did. The DCA revealed that the VBQ score performed better than the HU measurement did.


The calculation of VBQ scores is a novel opportunistic screening method for diagnosing osteoporosis; however, CT-based HU measurements outperform MRI-based VBQ scores. HU measurements can be used as a screening method when pre-operative CT scans are available.

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