Human intervertebral disc stiffness correlates better with the Otsu threshold computed from axial T2 map of its posterior annulus fibrosus than with clinical classifications

Maquer, Ghislain; Brandejsky, Vaclav; Benneker, Lorin M.; Watanabe, Atsuya; Vermathen, Peter; Zysset, Philippe (2014). Human intervertebral disc stiffness correlates better with the Otsu threshold computed from axial T2 map of its posterior annulus fibrosus than with clinical classifications. Medical engineering & physics, 36(2), pp. 219-225. Elsevier 10.1016/j.medengphy.2013.11.008

Accepted_Manuscript_Maquer2014b.pdf - Accepted Version
Available under License Publisher holds Copyright.

Download (437kB) | Preview

Degeneration of the intervertebral disc, sometimes associated with low back pain and abnormal spinal motions, represents a major health issue with high costs. A non-invasive degeneration assessment via qualitative or quantitative MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) is possible, yet, no relation between mechanical properties and T2 maps of the intervertebral disc (IVD) has been considered, albeit T2 relaxation time values quantify the degree of degeneration. Therefore, MRI scans and mechanical tests were performed on 14 human lumbar intervertebral segments freed from posterior elements and all soft tissues excluding the IVD. Degeneration was evaluated in each specimen using morphological criteria, qualitative T2 weighted images and quantitative axial T2 map data and stiffness was calculated from the load-deflection curves of in vitro compression, torsion, lateral bending and flexion/extension tests. In addition to mean T2, the OTSU threshold of T2 (TOTSU), a robust and automatic histogram-based method that computes the optimal threshold maximizing the distinction of two classes of values, was calculated for anterior, posterior, left and right regions of each annulus fibrosus (AF). While mean T2 and degeneration schemes were not related to the IVDs' mechanical properties, TOTSU computed in the posterior AF correlated significantly with those classifications as well as with all stiffness values. TOTSU should therefore be included in future degeneration grading schemes.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Pre-clinic Human Medicine > Institute for Surgical Technology & Biomechanics ISTB [discontinued]
04 Faculty of Medicine > Department of Radiology, Neuroradiology and Nuclear Medicine (DRNN) > Institute of Diagnostic, Interventional and Paediatric Radiology > DCR Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy and Methodology (AMSM)
04 Faculty of Medicine > Department of Orthopaedic, Plastic and Hand Surgery (DOPH) > Clinic of Orthopaedic Surgery
04 Faculty of Medicine > Pre-clinic Human Medicine > BioMedical Research (DBMR) > Forschungsbereich Pavillon 52 > Abt. Magnetresonanz-Spektroskopie und Methodologie, AMSM

Graduate School:

Graduate School for Cellular and Biomedical Sciences (GCB)

UniBE Contributor:

Maquer, Ghislain Bernard; Brandejsky, Vaclav; Benneker, Lorin Michael; Watanabe, Atsuya; Vermathen, Peter and Zysset, Philippe


500 Science > 570 Life sciences; biology
600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health








Ghislain Bernard Maquer

Date Deposited:

30 Apr 2014 12:04

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2022 14:29

Publisher DOI:


PubMed ID:


Uncontrolled Keywords:

Axial T(2) maps, Degeneration grade, Experimental stiffness, Human intervertebral disc, MRI




Actions (login required)

Edit item Edit item
Provide Feedback