Is the location of the signal intensity weighted centroid a reliable measurement of fluid displacement within the disc?
Biomedical Engineering / Biomedizinische Technik
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Abstract Degenerated discs have shorter T 2 -relaxation time and lower MR signal. The location of the signal-intensity-weighted-centroid reflects the water distribution within a region-of-interest (ROI). This study compared the reliability of the location of the signal-intensity-weighted-centroid to mean signal intensity and area measurements. L4-L5 and L5-S1 discs were measured on 43 mid-sagittal T 2 -weighted 3T MRI images in adults with back pain. One rater analysed images twice and another once, blinded to measurements. Discs were semi-automatically segmented into a whole disc, nucleus, anterior and posterior annulus. The coordinates of the signal-intensity-weighted-centroid for all regions demonstrated excellent intraclass-correlation-coefficients for intra- (0.99–1.00) and inter-rater reliability (0.97–1.00). The standard error of measurement for the Y-coordinates of the signal-intensity-weighted-centroid for all ROIs were 0 at both levels and 0 to 2.7 mm for X-coordinates. The mean signal intensity and area for the whole disc and nucleus presented excellent intra-rater reliability with intraclass-correlation-coefficients from 0.93 to 1.00, and 0.92 to 1.00 for inter-rater reliability. The mean signal intensity and area had lower reliability for annulus ROIs, with intra-rater intraclass-correlation-coefficient from 0.5 to 0.76 and inter-rater from 0.33 to 0.58. The location of the signal-intensity-weighted-centroid is a reliable biomarker for investigating the effects of disc interventions.