The precise site of bone loss was evaluated in early postmenopausal women using high resolution computed tomographic (CT) images of forearm measurements. A procedure was devised to quantitate trabecular and subcortical bone density of the distal radius, cortical bone density of the diaphyseal radius, and cortical wall thickness at both measuring sites. Twenty women (mean age 52 years, time since menopause 1 to 4 years) were examined twice at one-year intervals to determine the yearly change of the above mentioned bone parameters. Trabecular bone and subcortical bone showed the same density reduction of 7 mg/cm3 per year. Cortical bone density remains unchanged and no increase in porosity can be seen. For early postmenopausal women the reduction of bone mass (BMC) in the diaphysis of the radius is, therefore, due to a thinning of the cortical wall. This is in accordance with the observed average loss of wall thickness of 0.04 mm per year. The non-invasive determination of the precise localization of bone changes in individual patients should be of value in the assessment of the severity of osteoporosis. Furthermore it has potential in the evaluation of the efficacy of therapeutic procedures in the various disease states.
Bone densitometry Cortical bone density Osteoporosis Perimenopause Quantitative computed tomography Trabecular bone density