The study, presented yesterday at the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons Annual Meeting in Las Vegas, suggests there may be value in prospective lumbar, or lower, spine patients first receiving a CT scan in the area.
“Low bone density is a known risk factor for vertebral fractures, and there is a recent emphasis by spinal surgeons to evaluate and treat this prior to elective spine fusion,” said Dr. Alexander Hughes, an orthopedic surgeon specializing in spine surgery at HSS and the study’s senior investigator.
The present standard has been to measure bone strength using dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA or DEXA), a type of flat X-ray able to read bone mineral content. Quantitative computed tomography (QCT) measures bone mineral density with a CT scanner, with a resulting 3D image.
Almost half of the nearly 300 patients in the HSS study received a first-time diagnosis of osteoporosis or its precursor, osteopenia.