Ultrasonic Bone Densitometry

Densitometria ossea ultrasonica
Software per la densitometria ossea

Ultrasonic Bone Densitometry

Bone densitometry is a diagnostic technique that allows to evaluate the mineral density of bones, precisely the quantity of minerals contained in our skeleton. It is particularly useful to diagnose and monitor osteoporosis.

Hence, densitometry is currently considered the gold standard of diagnostic investigations for osteoporosis and an important "predictor" of the risk of fractures.

4Prevent uses Quantitative Ultrasonometry to evaluate bone density in the heel.

Based on the transmission of high frequency waves through the mineralised matrix of the heel, it supports Osteoporosis diagnostics in determining the risk of fractures.

Why choose ultrasound investigations

Ultrasonometric study parameters are indicators of bone resistance, just like conventional CBM (Computerised Bone Mineralometry) with the DXA (Dual Energy X-ray Absorptiometry) technique.

It must be said that DXA is, anyhow, an investigation that entails the limited but not negligible impact of ionising radiations (X-rays); hence, the tendency to avoid using it for screening examinations.

The ultrasonometric examination is performed on the heel

Studies conducted indicate that even the evaluation of the heel can predict the risk of osteoporotic fractures in the femur, vertebrae and other sites as precisely as the vertebral, lumbar and femoral DXA scan.

This bone segment presents the medial, lateral, flat and parallel surfaces, and is easily accessible to instruments.

Though it is a peripheral bone, the heel is sensitive to physiological, pathological or iatrogenic changes. It mirrors the systemic bone metabolism and, therefore, effectively predicts osteoporotic fractures, particularly in the hip.

Ultrasound bone densitometry is, therefore, a non-invasive, radiation-free system that is rapidly performed and highly predictive of bone frailness.

Who must submit to bone densitometry ?

The densitometric investigation is particularly indicated when important risk factors for osteoporosis manifest in the clinical conditions specified below:

  • women aged > 65 years and in menopause for at least a decade (some guidelines recommend bone densitometry also for men aged over 70 years);

  • early menopause (< 45 years) and surgical menopause (removal of ovaries during the fertile period);

  • causes of oestrogen deficiency (primary hypogonadism or secondary amenorrhoea for more than a year);

  • Predisposing constitutional factors for osteoporosis (women experiencing pre-menopause and post-menopause with body mass index <19 kg/m², long-limbed, sedentary with reduced muscle mass);

  •  important nutritional deficiencies (inadequate intake of calcium and vitamin D);

  • symptoms suggesting the presence of osteoporosis, such as a height reduction in excess of 3 cm, curved spine or fracture caused by a slight accident;

  • recent or future exposure to prolonged treatments with high doses of cortisone or other osteoporosis promoting drugs (e.g., anti-epileptics, methotrexate, immunosuppressant drugs after organ transplant);

  • past fractures that are not caused by important traumas;

  • diseases that encourage bone demineralisation (hypercortisolism - Cushing’s syndrome, hyperthyroidism, renal failure, hyperparathyroidism);

  • strongly positive family history of osteoporosis;

  • wrong dietary habits, more than 20 cigarettes a day, alcohol abuse.

The examination performed at the Pharmacy with immediate report allows an early diagnosis of osteoporosis in order to define an appropriate therapy with the patient, if he presents the risk of an osteoporotic fracture, by changes in lifestyle, targeted physical exercise and a specific diet, if required.

Osso sano ed osso con osteoporosi

The Pharmacist will thus be able to provide advice, direct the patient to the specialist for drug therapy, if required, or advice the intake of supplements based on vitamin D and Calcium.