European Radiology

, Volume 18, Issue 7, pp 1484–1496 | Cite as

Vertebral morphometry: current methods and recent advances

  • G. Guglielmi
  • D. Diacinti
  • C. van Kuijk
  • F. Aparisi
  • C. Krestan
  • J. E. Adams
  • T. M. Link


Vertebral fractures are the hallmark of osteoporosis and are associated with increased morbility and mortality. Because a majority of vertebral fractures often occur in absence of specific trauma and are asymptomatic, their identification is radiographic. The two most widely used methods to determine the severity of vertebral fractures are the visual semiquantitative (SQ) assessment and the morphometric quantitative approach, involving the measurements of vertebral body heights. The measurements may be made on conventional spinal radiographs (MRX: morphometric X-ray radiography) or on images obtained from dual X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) scans (MXA: morphometric X-ray absorptiometry).The availability of a rapid, low-dose method for assessment of vertebral fractures, using advanced fan-beam DXA devices, provides a practical method for integrated assessment of BMD and vertebral fracture status. The visual or morphometric assessment of lateral DXA spine images may have a potential role for use as a prescreening tool, excluding normal subjects prior to performing conventional radiographs.


Osteoporosis Vertebral fractures Vertebral heights Semiquantitative vertebral assessment Quantitative vertebral morphometry Morphometric X-ray radiography Dual X-ray absorptiometry Morphometric X-ray absorptiometry 


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Copyright information

© European Society of Radiology 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • G. Guglielmi
    • 1
    • 2
  • D. Diacinti
    • 3
  • C. van Kuijk
    • 4
  • F. Aparisi
    • 5
  • C. Krestan
    • 6
  • J. E. Adams
    • 7
  • T. M. Link
    • 8
  1. 1.Department of RadiologyUniversity of FoggiaFoggiaItaly
  2. 2.Department of RadiologyScientific Institute Hospital “Casa Sollievo della Sofferenza”San Giovanni RotondoItaly
  3. 3.Department of RadiologyUniversity “La Sapienza”RomaItaly
  4. 4.Department of RadiologyUniversity of AmsterdamAmsterdamThe Netherlands
  5. 5.Department of Diagnostic RadiologyHospital Dr PesetValenciaSpain
  6. 6.Department of RadiologyMedical University of ViennaViennaAustria
  7. 7.Imaging Science and Biomedical EngineeringThe UniversityManchesterUK
  8. 8.Department of RadiologyUniversity of CaliforniaSan FranciscoUSA

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