## Abstract

The classical methods for estimating the volume of human body compartments in vivo (e.g. skin-fold thickness for fat, radioisotope counting for different compartments, etc.) are generally indirect and rely on essentially empirical relationships-hence they are biased to unknown degrees. The advent of modem non-invasive scanning techniques, such as X-ray computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is now widening the scope of volume quantification, especially in combination with stereological methods. Apart from its superior soft tissue contrast, MRI enjoys the distinct advantage of not using ionizing radiations.

By a proper landmarking and control of the scanner couch, an adult male volunteer was scanned exhaustively into parallel systematic MR 'sections'. Four compartments were defined, namely bone, muscle, organs and fat (which included the skin), and their corresponding volumes were easily and efficiently estimated by the Cavalieri method: the total section area of a compartment times the section interval estimates the volume of the compartment without bias. Formulae and nomograms are given to predict the errors and to optimize the design. To estimate an individual's muscle volume with a 5% coefficient of error, 10 sections and less than 10 min point counting (to estimate the relevant section areas) are required. Bone and fat require about twice as much work. To estimate the mean muscle volume of a population with the same error contribution, from a random sample of six subjects, the workload per subject can be divided by square-root 6, namely.4 min per subject. For a given number of sections planimetry would be as accurate but far more time consuming than point counting.

Original language | English |
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Pages (from-to) | 239-253 |

Number of pages | 15 |

Journal | Journal of Microscopy |

Volume | 171 |

Publication status | Published - Sep 1993 |

## Keywords

- BODY COMPOSITION
- BONE
- CAVALIERI PRINCIPLE
- FAT
- MAGNETIC RESONANCE IMAGING
- MATHERON FORMULA
- MUSCLE
- NUGGET EFFECT
- POINT COUNTING
- STEREOLOGY
- SYSTEMATIC SAMPLING
- VOLUME
- EFFICIENCY
- PRINCIPLE
- NUMBER