Ultrasound Bone Densitometry

There are various different procedures that can measure bone density: dual energy x-ray absorptiometry


Osteoporosis is common after menopause. Ultrasound Bone Densitometry is very useful in the prevention strategies and care monitoring.

(DEXA), which uses a special x-ray scanning machine to measure bone density is the most popular technique as it is fast and highly accurate. Currently, bone densitometry tests are the only accurate measurements of bone mass and fracture risk.

ULTRASOUND BONE MINERALOMETRY is a modern technique for evaluating the Bone Mineral Content (BMC), easy to use, without any biological risk and it appear to offer a more possibly cost-effective method of screening bone mass.

OSTEOPOROSIS is a bone chronic degenerative disease characterized by a mineral (calcium) progressive loss leading to a loss of strength and to a bone structure deterioration in both external (cortical) and internal (trabecular). Consequence of this demineralization is an increased bone fragility which results in an increased bone fracture tendency that in most serious cases can also occurring in irrelevant mechanical events even like a simple cough. Bone Mineralometry (also called Bone Densitometry) has an important diagnostic role.

FRACTURE can tipically occur to femurs or vertebras or affect Peripherals such as the long bones of the forearm (i.e. Colles’ fracture). Their occurrence may bring invalidating functional situations (with intense pains and constrained body movements) for those affected by. Also called “Silent Disease”, Osteoporosis clinically manifests itself only when are fractures are in fact final complications of something else.

The awareness of this evolution for a long time asymptomatic (devoid of trouble for the patient) induced an instrumental techniques development capable of detecting very early bone loss of calcium and monitor it in time.

Among these techniques has aroused particular interest the Ultrasound Bone Mineralometry: usually performed at the calcareous or at the phalanges.

Fifteen years ago now the Bone Quantitative Ultrasound (QUS) has been introduced into bone tissues clinical practice and recently ultrasound measurements have been included in the FRAX fracture prediction tool, and they can be used to predict risk of osteoporotic fractures.

The interest for Ultrasound Bone Densitometry (Bone Quantitative Ultrasound) is related to some of its features: it is a relatively inexpensive and simple survey, easy to put into effects and without ionizing radiation.

QUS measurement allows not only to have a reliable quantification of bone mineral density but also gives information on the structure and mechanical strength of the bone tissue with a characteristic predictive ability.

The tool used has, as a bone segment example, the phalanges of the hand. The reasons of this choice is related to the fact that these small bone structures have a proper balance between medullary (trabecular) and cortical (compact) bone. This allow an optimal estimation of the general skeletal mineralization.

The Ultrasound Bone Densitometry making needs about 10 minutes and it doesn’t need particular patient preparations. There is no biological method risk.  At the survey’s end will be released a computerized report with an automatic fracture risk analysis and Physician annotations.

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Filiberto Di Prospero
Medical Doctor, Consultant in Gynecology and Obstetrics, Endocrinology and Metabolism. Director of Gynecologic Endocrinology Unit at Civitanova Marche General Hospital (Italy). Private clinics in Civitanova Marche, Rome and Milan.

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