Bone mineral density

Last revised by Daniel J Bell on 9 Feb 2021

Bone mineral density (BMD) is defined as the amount of mineral (calcium hydroxyapatite) per unit of bone and can be used as an indirect indicator of bone strength. The bone mineral density is used to determine if osteopenia or osteoporosis are present.

Radiographic features

Bone mineral density can be measured by various methods, with DEXA being the most prevalent in modern clinical practice:

  • advantageous for opportunistic screening but research not advanced enough yet for implementation into clinical practice 4
  • HU measurements vary on anatomic site including by individual vertebra 4
  • scanner variability is also a significant factor with HU threshold for diagnosis of osteoporosis varying between 99 and 136 HU 4
Nuclear medicine

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