When is lateral spine 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

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, in those with height loss in the absence of other symptoms, or in those with pain in the thoracic or upper lumbar spine (see the following image). A scoliosis series is useful for detecting occult vertebral fractures.

Severe osteoporosis. This radiograph shows multipl Severe osteoporosis. This radiograph shows multiple vertebral crush fractures. Source: Government of Western Australia Department of Health.

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