Osteoporosis International

, Volume 28, Issue 6, pp 1771–1778 | Cite as

Low-trauma fractures without osteoporosis

  • E. LespessaillesEmail author
  • B. Cortet
  • E. Legrand
  • P. Guggenbuhl
  • C. Roux


In clinical practice, areal bone mineral density (aBMD) is usually measured using dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) to assess bone status in patients with or without osteoporotic fracture. As BMD has a Gaussian distribution, it is difficult to define a cutoff for osteoporosis diagnosis. Based on epidemiological considerations, WHO defined a DXA-based osteoporosis diagnosis with a T-score <−2.5. However, the majority of individuals who have low-trauma fractures do not have osteoporosis with DXA (i.e., T-score <−2.5), and some of them have no decreased BMD at all. Some medical conditions (spondyloarthropathies, chronic kidney disease and mineral bone disorder, diabetes, obesity) or drugs (glucocorticoids, aromatase inhibitors) are more prone to cause fractures with subnormal BMD. In the situation of fragility fractures with subnormal or normal BMD, clinicians face a difficulty as almost all the pharmacologic treatments have proved their efficacy in patients with low BMD. However, some data are available in post hoc analyses in patients with T score >−2. Overall, in patients with a previous fragility fracture (especially vertebra or hip), treatments appear to be effective. Thus, the authors recommend treating some patients with a major fragility fracture even if areal BMD T score is above −2.5.


BMD Diagnosis of osteoporosis Low-trauma fracture Normal BMD Treatment of osteoporosis 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflicts of interest

E.L: occasional interventions: honoraria as an expert or speaker for Amgen, Expanscience, Lilly (France), MSD. Indirect interests: financial support to a research organization from Abbvie, Amgen, Lilly (France), MSD, UCB. B.C: occasional interventions: honoraria as an expert or speaker for Amgen, Expanscience, Lilly (France), MSD Medtronic, Roche diagnostics. Indirect interests: financial support to a research organization from Amgen and MSD. E.Legrand: honoraria as an expert or speaker for Amgen. P.G: Invitation conference and congress for AMGEN, Lilly, Novartis, Pfizer, Roche. C.R: occasional interventions: honoraria as an expert or speaker for Alexion, Amgen, Lilly (France), MSD, and UCB. Funding is from ULTRAGENYX.


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Copyright information

© International Osteoporosis Foundation and National Osteoporosis Foundation 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • E. Lespessailles
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • B. Cortet
    • 3
    • 4
  • E. Legrand
    • 5
  • P. Guggenbuhl
    • 6
    • 7
    • 8
  • C. Roux
    • 9
  1. 1.Laboratoire I3MTOUniversité d’OrléansOrléansFrance
  2. 2.Regional Hospital of OrleansOrleansFrance
  3. 3.EA 4490 PMOI—Physiopathologie des Maladies Osseuses InflammatoiresUniversité de LilleLilleFrance
  4. 4.Service de RhumatologieCHU LilleLilleFrance
  5. 5.Service de RhumatologieCHU d’AngersAngersFrance
  6. 6.Service de RhumatologieCHU RennesRennesFrance
  7. 7.RennesFrance
  8. 8.Faculté de MédecineUniversité Rennes 1RennesFrance
  9. 9.INSERM U 1153, hôpital CochinUniversité Paris DescartesParisFrance

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