Bone geometry and skeletal fragility
- Cite this article as:
- Bouxsein, M.L. & Karasik, D. Curr Osteoporos Rep (2006) 4: 49. doi:10.1007/s11914-006-0002-9
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Although low bone mineral density is among the strongest risk factors for fracture, a number of clinical studies have demonstrated the limitations of bone mineral density measurements in assessing fracture risk and monitoring the response to therapy. These observations have brought renewed attention to the broader array of factors that influence skeletal fragility, including bone size, shape, and microarchitecture. This article reviews the relationship between bone geometry and skeletal fragility, focusing on the impact of bone geometry on bone strength and fracture risk. It also reviews recent data on the effect of osteoporosis therapies on femoral geometry. It is clear that characteristics of a bone’s size and shape strongly influence its biomechanical strength, but there is no consensus as to the geometric parameters that improve prediction of fracture risk. Recent data from hip structure analysis indicate that antiresorptive and anticatabolic treatments alter femoral geometry, but this observation depends on several assumptions that have not been tested in subjects treated with osteoporosis therapies. Current knowledge is limited, in part, by the predominant use of two-dimensional techniques to assess bone geometry. Additional studies that incorporate three-dimensional imaging are needed to better define the relationship between bone geometry and skeletal fragility, and to establish the clinical utility of bone geometry measurements.