Quantitative Imaging of Body Composition

Robert Hemke, Colleen Buckless, Martin Torriani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Body composition refers to the amount and distribution of lean tissue, adipose tissue, and bone in the human body. Lean tissue primarily consists of skeletal muscle; adipose tissue comprises mostly abdominal visceral adipose tissue and abdominal and nonabdominal subcutaneous adipose tissue. Hepatocellular and myocellular lipids are also fat pools with important metabolic implications. Importantly, body composition reflects generalized processes such as increased adiposity in obesity and age-related loss of muscle mass known as sarcopenia.In recent years, body composition has been extensively studied quantitatively to predict overall health. Multiple imaging methods have allowed precise estimates of tissue types and provided insights showing the relationship of body composition to varied pathologic conditions. In this review article, we discuss different imaging methods used to quantify body composition and describe important anatomical locations where target tissues can be measured.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)375-385
Number of pages11
JournalSeminars in musculoskeletal radiology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2020

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