Bone densitometry. Current aspects about radiological diagnosis of osteoporosis

Hippokratia 2002, 6(3):111-117

N. Vougiouklis


The diagnosis of osteoporosis is currently based to a great degree on the measurement of the bone density using the technique of dual energy X-ray absorptiometry known as DEXA. By using this technique one can, with satisfactory accuracy, diagnose osteoporosis at an early stage and estimate, under certain circumstances, its development. During life time the bone mass changes at a different rate for each bone. So to make a correct estimation of osteoporosis it is necessary to correlate the findings with other parameters such as the age, weight, race, gender and to take into consideration the examined bone. As the mean life expectancy increases, the incidence of osteoporosis increases too.In this review a brief description of the natural history of osteoporosis and its relation with bone density is made, the indications of bone densitometry are analyzed. Also questioning for the choice of the best method for estimating bone density and the time for the reexamination are discussed. Information for the technique and how bone density is estimated is given.It is made clear why the correct estimation of the results for the diagnosis and the follow up of the disease, presupposes good knowledge of the accuracy and the precision of the method. Finally, the speculation for financial results of the assessment is referred too.