Osteoporosis Imaging: State ot the Art and Advanced Imaging
Thomas M. Link, MD
Osteoporosis is becoming an increasingly important public health issue, and effective treatments to prevent fragility fractures are available. Osteoporosis imaging is of critical importance in identifying individuals at risk for fractures who would require pharmacotherapy to reduce fracture risk and also in monitoring response to treatment. Dual x-ray absorptiometry is currently the state-of-the-art technique to measure bone mineral density and to diagnose osteoporosis according to the World Health Organization guidelines. Motivated by a 2000 National Institutes of Health consensus conference, substantial research efforts have focused on assessing bone quality by using advanced imaging techniques. Among these techniques aimed at better characterizing fracture risk and treatment effects, high-resolution peripheral quantitative computed tomography (CT) currently plays a central role, and a large number of recent studies have used this technique to study trabecular and cortical bone architecture. Other techniques to analyze bone quality include multidetector CT, magnetic resonance imaging, and quantitative ultrasonography. In addition to quantitative imaging techniques measuring bone density and quality, imaging needs to be used to diagnose prevalent osteoporotic fractures, such as spine fractures on chest radiographs and sagittal multidetector CT reconstructions. Radiologists need to be sensitized to the fact that the presence of fragility fractures will alter patient care, and these fractures need to be described in the report. This review article covers state-of-the-art imaging techniques to measure bone mineral density, describes novel techniques to study bone quality, and focuses on how standard imaging techniques should be used to diag-nose prevalent osteoporotic fractures.