Dynamic computer tomography (CT) is an emerging modality to analyze in-vivo joint kinematics at the bone level, but it requires manual bone segmentation and, in some instances, landmark identification. The objective of this study is to present an automated workflow for the assessment of three-dimensional in vivo joint kinematics from dynamic musculoskeletal CT images. The proposed method relies on a multi-atlas, multi-label segmentation and landmark propagation framework to extract bony structures and detect anatomical landmarks on the CT dataset. The segmented structures serve as regions of interest for the subsequent motion estimation across the dynamic sequence. The landmarks are propagated across the dynamic sequence for the construction of bone embedded reference frames from which kinematic parameters are estimated. We applied our workflow on dynamic CT images obtained from 15 healthy subjects on two different joints: thumb base (n = 5) and knee (n = 10). The proposed method resulted in segmentation accuracies of 0.90 ± 0.01 for the thumb dataset and 0.94 ± 0.02 for the knee as measured by the Dice score coefficient. In terms of motion estimation, mean differences in cardan angles between the automated algorithm and manual segmentation, and landmark identification performed by an expert were below 1°. Intraclass correlation (ICC) between cardan angles from the algorithm and results from expert manual landmarks ranged from 0.72 to 0.99 for all joints across all axes. The proposed automated method resulted in reproducible and reliable measurements, enabling the assessment of joint kinematics using 4DCT in clinical routine.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2062
Number of pages17
JournalDiagnostics (Basel, Switzerland)
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 7 Nov 2021


  • dynamic CT
  • motion analysis
  • multi-atlas segmentation
  • musculoskeletal imaging
  • registration
  • segmentation


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