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Diagnosis of osteoporosis 

Diagnosis of osteoporosis
Diagnosis of osteoporosis

Emma Clark

and Gavin Clunie

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date: 26 November 2020

Osteoporosis is currently conventionally diagnosed on the basis of lumbar spine or hip bone densitometry using dual X-ray absorptiometry (DXA).

In post-menopausal women, osteoporosis can be diagnosed if lumbar spine, total hip, or femoral neck bone mineral density (BMD) is 2.5 or more standard deviations below the mean peak BMD of the reference population (T score ≤–2.5).

Portable peripheral skeletal DXA, lateral spine DXA for vertebral fracture analysis (VFA), and heel ultrasound scanners may have a role in providing information about bone health and fracture risk if hip/spine DXA is not available.

There are some simple radiographic, MR, and bone scintigraphic patterns of abnormality useful in pointing towards a diagnosis of osteoporosis (and osteoporotic fracture).

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