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High Resolution Peripheral Quantitative Computed Tomography Core Facility (MGH)

Director: Finkelstein, Joel, M.D.

Location: MGH Bone Density Center, 10 Emerson Place, Suite 1, Boston, MA 02114


The High Resolution Peripheral Quantitative Computed Tomography (HR-pQCT) Core Facility offers measurements of the microscopic internal structure of cortical and trabecular bone in the distal radius and tibia. Additionally, the HR-pQCT Core Facility offers Finite Element Analysis to estimate key biomechanical properties of the bone including failure load and stiffness.

By scanning the distal radius and tibia, the HR-pQCT Core can measure a variety of important parameters reflecting the integrity or cortical and trabecular bone. This information cannot be determined using standard clinical imaging techniques such as dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DXA). A scanning appointment is a 30 minute addition to a clinical research visit and involves less radiation exposure than traditional bone densitometry. With applications for both cross-sectional and longitudinal research, investigators have employed our facilities and expertise to study a variety of bone-related diseases with participants ranging in age from children to the elderly.

The goal of the HR-pQCT Core is to provide facilities and personnel on a per study basis, allowing investigators access to important information about bone structure and function without requiring special expertise and equipment.

Getting Started: To begin organizing a cohort for HR-pQCT studies or to inquire further, please contact the Core Director, Dr. Joel Finkelstein.






  • 3D Imaging ( Material analysis service )

    The HR-pQCT Core Facility can generate high-quality black-and-white images illustrating static bone microscopic structure and color images depicting dynamic properties of the skeletal response to stimulated loading.

  • Extended Cortical Analysis (ECA) ( Material analysis service )

    ECA provides more detailed measures of cortical bone, including quantification of its porosity and thickness.

  • Finite Element Analysis (FEA) ( Material analysis service )

    FEA uses mathematical modeling to assess the effects of a simulated mechanical load on bone to estimate its stiffness, failure load, and other biomechanical properties.

  • Normative data comparison ( Support service )

    Normative data (mean values and standard deviations) for SA, ECA, and FEA as well as for DXA (dual energy x-ray absorptiometry) for healthy 20 to 30 year old men and women are available to provide reference values and for comparisons with values from specific protocol cohorts. Short-term reproducibility data are also available.

  • Reporting ( Support service )

    Cumulative reports including all measurements for a specific research protocol are provided every 6 months. Additional reports can be requested when needed to respond to deadlines for grant submissions or publications.

  • Scan review ( Support service )

    Each scan is initially analyzed by a Core Facility technician and then reviewed by a senior member of the Core Facility staff.

  • Standard Analysis (SA) ( Material analysis service )

    SA includes measurements of densities and micro-architectural parameters for cortical and trabecular bone compartments of the distal radius and tibia.

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Last updated: 2015-11-24T15:20:24.060-05:00

Copyright © 2016 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College
The eagle-i Consortium is supported by NIH Grant #5U24RR029825-02 / Copyright 2016