Ultrasonic Evaluation of Intact, Healing and Osteoporotic Long Bones

V. T. Potsika, V. C. Protopappas, K. N. Grivas, T. V. Gortsas, M. G. Vavva, K. N. Malizos, D. K. Polyzos and D. I. Fotiadis (UDC: 616.71-007.233-073) 

Quantitative ultrasound (QUS) has been introduced in recent years for the comprehensive noninvasive and non-ionizing evaluation of bone. This paper presents a review of our research work of the last decade including experimental and computational studies for the ultrasonic assessment of fracture healing and osteoporosis. The axial transmission and the backscattering methods have been applied to investigate the variation of ultrasound velocity, the propagation of guided waves and the interaction of the complex scattering phenomena with bone. In the macrostructure level, computational models have been established mimicking healthy and pathologic bones, while the use of imaging modalities has opened new perspectives for the evaluation of the bone microstructure using QUS. In the nanostructure level, a deterministic hybrid model for bone healing and angiogenesis predictions under the presence of QUS has been established incorporating the spatiotemporal development of soft tissues, bone and the evolution of blood vessel network. The results reveal the promising monitoring potential of QUS and its positive impact on the acceleration of the bone healing process.