Bone Densitometry: Current Status and Future Prospects

G M Blake, C C Glüer, I Fogelman

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36 Citations (Scopus)


Over the past decade, growing awareness of the impact of osteoporosis on the elderly population and the consequent costs of healthcare have stimulated development of new treatments to prevent fractures, together with new imaging technologies to assist in diagnosis. With its ability to perform high-precision measurements of bone mineral density (BMD) in the spine and hip, dual X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) is well suited to meet this latter need. However, there is continuing interest in smaller, less expensive, systems for assessing the peripheral skeleton. These include peripheral DXA scanning of the distal forearm and a variety of devices for performing quantitative ultrasound (QUS) measurements of broad-band ultrasonic attenuation (BUA) and speed of sound (SOS) in bone. Pivotal to all these developments is the demonstration in prospective studies that new technologies can reliably identify patients at risk of osteoporotic fractures. Whether DXA technology can meet the anticipated need for wider provision of diagnostic services is uncertain at present. The likely alternative is bone ultrasound. Although QUS technology is substantially cheaper than DXA and has proved its ability to predict fracture risk in the elderly, it is less precise, there is a lack of appropriate phantoms for quality control and there are doubts about how to interpret results in younger women.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)S177-186
JournalBritish Journal of Radiology
Issue numberSpecial Issue 1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 1997


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