What is the role of radiography in the diagnosis of osteoporosis?

Updated: Jan 20, 2021
  • Author: Rachel Elizabeth Whitaker Elam, MD, MSc; Chief Editor: Herbert S Diamond, MD  more...
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Other plain radiography features and recommendations are as follows:

  • Obtain radiographs of the affected area in symptomatic patients
  • Lateral spine radiography can be performed in asymptomatic patients in whom a vertebral fracture is suspected; a scoliosis series is useful for detecting occult vertebral fractures
  • Radiographic findings can suggest the presence of osteopenia, or bone loss, but cannot be used to diagnose osteoporosis
  • Radiographs may also show other conditions, such as osteoarthritis, disk disease, or spondylolisthesis

See Workup for more detail.

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