When is plain radiography indicated in the workup of osteoporosis?

Updated: Sep 26, 2019
  • Author: Monique Bethel, MD; Chief Editor: Herbert S Diamond, MD  more...
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Answer

Plain radiography is recommended to assess overall skeletal integrity. In particular, in the workup for osteoporosis, plain radiography may be indicated if a fracture is already suspected or if patients have lost more than 1.5 inches of height (see the following image).

Asymmetric loss in vertebral body height, without Asymmetric loss in vertebral body height, without evidence of an acute fracture, can develop in patients with osteoporosis. These patients become progressively kyphotic (as shown) over time, and the characteristic hunched-over posture of severe osteoporosis develops eventually.

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