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01.12.2016 | Research article | Ausgabe 1/2016 Open Access

BMC Medical Imaging 1/2016

Osteoblastic lesion screening with an advanced post-processing package enabling in-plane rib reading in CT-images

BMC Medical Imaging > Ausgabe 1/2016
Hannes Seuss, Peter Dankerl, Alexander Cavallaro, Michael Uder, Matthias Hammon



To evaluate screening and diagnostic accuracy for the detection of osteoblastic rib lesions using an advanced post-processing package enabling in-plane rib reading in CT-images.


We retrospectively assessed the CT-data of 60 consecutive prostate cancer patients by applying dedicated software enabling in-plane rib reading. Reading the conventional multiplanar reconstructions was considered to be the reference standard. To simulate clinical practice, the reader was given 10 s to screen for sclerotic rib lesions in each patient applying both approaches. Afterwards, every rib was evaluated individually with both approaches without a time limit. Sensitivities, specificities, positive/negative predictive values and the time needed for detection were calculated depending on the lesion’s size (largest diameter < 5 mm, 5–10 mm, > 10 mm).


In 53 of 60 patients, all ribs were properly displayed in plane, in five patients ribs were partially displayed correctly, and in two patients none of the ribs were displayed correctly. During the 10-s screening approach all patients with sclerotic rib lesions were correctly identified reading the in-plane images (including the patients without a correct rib segmentation), whereas 14 of 23 patients were correctly identified reading conventional multiplanar images. Overall screening sensitivity, specificity, and positive/negative predictive values were 100/27.0/46.0/100 %, respectively, for in-plane reading and 60.9/100/100/80.4 %, respectively, for multiplanar reading. Overall diagnostic (no time limit) sensitivity, specificity, and positive/negative predictive values of in-plane reading were 97.8/92.8/74.6/99.5 %, respectively. False positive results predominantly occurred for lesions <5 mm in size.


In-plane reading of the ribs allows reliable detection of osteoblastic lesions for screening purposes. The limited specificity results from false positives predominantly occurring for small lesions.
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