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Clin Cases Miner Bone Metab. 2009 Sep;6(3):234-46.

Bone fragility and imaging techniques.

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Department of Imaging Diagnostics - AOUC - Florence, Italy.


Bone fragility is a silent condition that increases bone fracture risk, enhanced by low bone mass and microarchitecture deterioration of bone tissue that lead to osteoporosis. Fragility fractures are the major clinical manifestation of osteoporosis.A large body of epidemiological data indicates that the current standard for predicting fragility fracture risk is an areal BMD (aBMD) measurement by DXA. Although mineral density measurements assess the quantity of bone, the quality of the tissue is an important predictor of fragility. Thus, bone strength is explained not only by BMD but also by macrostructural and microstructural characteristics of bone tissue. Imaging diagnostics, through the use of X-rays, DXA, Ultrasonography, CT and MR, provides methods for diagnosis and characterization of fractures, and semi- and quantitative methods for assessment of bone consistency and strength, that become precious for bone fragility clinical management if they are integrated by clinical risk factors. The last employment of sophisticated non-invasively imaging techniques in clinical research as high-resolution CT (hrCT), microCT (μ-CT), high-resolution MR (hrMR) and, microRM (μRM), combined with finite element analysis methods, open to new challenges in a better bone strength assessment to enhance the comprehension of biomechanical parameters and the prediction of fragility fractures.


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