MIRA University of Twente
Department of Biomechanical Engineering

Department of Biomechanical Engineering

TLEMsafe – Quantification of muscle energy consumption using PET scans



Rehabilitation Department/Orthopedics Department/ Nuclear Medicine Department

Radboud University Medical Centre

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Project page


ir. Sjoerd Kolk (contact S.Kolk@reval.umcn.nl)

prof. dr. ir. Nico Verdonschot

dr. ir. Eric Visser

Starting date

June 2012


Positron Emission Tomography with Computed Tomography (PET/CT) has recently been discovered to be a valuable tool in the measurement of muscle energy consumption. After injection of radioactively-labeled glucose (18-Fluorodeoxyglucose, a ‘tracer’), the muscles take up the glucose tracer to replenish their energy supply. The total accumulation of this tracer in the muscles can be detected with this technique. If the tracer is injected during a prolonged period of walking, the energy consumption of each lower extremity muscle can be measured highly accurately. The purpose of finding these muscle energy consumption values is to validate musculo-skeletal models of the lower extremity. This assignment is part of the ‘TLEMsafe’ project. In this project, the main overall goal is to improve the safety and predictability of orthopedic interventions of the lower extremity. We do this by creating subject-specific musculo-skeletal models (based on MRI scans) in which a surgery can be performed virtually. For this research, we used a brand-new PET/CT scanner at the Nuclear Medicine Department. This scanner is absolutely state-of-the-art (was installed November 2011) and offers the best possible imaging quality in the world.

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Example CT scan.

a: Example of automatic image morphing of one MRI scan on top of another.

b: PET image, overlaid on a CT image. The lighter areas indicate high glucose uptake, and thus, high energy consumption in that muscle.


We want to find the energy consumption of each whole muscle of the lower extremity during walking. This data will be of extremely great value for validating musculo-skeletal models. You will use state-of-the-art image analysis software (Materialise) to perform semi-automatic registration of PET/CT and MRI scans of 10 healthy subjects (already available). You will work in close cooperation with three departments in the RUMC and with Materialise (from Leuven, Belgium).

Further information

We seek a master student in Biomedical Engineering, Technical Medicine, Medicine or Biomedical Sciences who is interested in the musculo-skeletal system, and using state-of-the-art imaging and analysis techniques.