Int J Oral Maxillofac Implants 27 (2012), No. 5 15. Sep. 2012
Purpose: To evaluate the combination of fractal dimension (FD), lacunarity, and Feret diameter (FeD) to quantitatively characterize structural changes of mandibular alveolar bone around dental implants during initial healing.
Materials and Methods: Three standard-sized regions of interest (ROIs) (mesial and distal crest and apical area) around implants and three ROIs of the same size in the alveolar bone on the contralateral side were analyzed on digital panoramic images. FD was calculated using the box-counting method, and lacunarity was calculated using the FracLac plugin of Image J software. FeD was measured in the same ROIs. Comparisons of the groups were done with the Dunnett test.
Results: Forty-two implants in the posterior mandibles of 21 patients were used for FD measurements. A total of 189 ROIs was segmented into binary images. Mean FD values for mesial, distal, and apical ROIs around implants were 1.26, 1.36, and 1.4, respectively. The mean FD of alveolar bone around premolars/molars was 1.39 for all ROIs. The mean FeD for mesial, distal, and apical ROIs around implants was 7.63, 7.86, and 8.02, respectively, whereas it ranged between 7.88 and 8.13 for premolar teeth. Mean lacunarity values for mesial, distal, and apical ROIs around implants were 0.53, 0.51, and 0.48, respectively. Lacunarity values for ROIs around premolars ranged between 0.45 and 0.50. No significant differences were observed in FD, FeD, or lacunarity measurements between ROIs around implants and around teeth.
Conclusions: The satisfactory healing of bone following implant placement may be monitored by calculating FD, lacunarity, and FeD using digital panoramic images. Although preliminary, these values may alert the practitioner to any implants with loss of stability.
Keywords: dental implants, Feret diameter, fractal dimension, lacunarity, panoramic radiography