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Transiliac bone biopsy in osteoporosis: frequency, indications, consequences and complications. An evaluation of 99 consecutive cases over a period of 14 years.

Clinical Rheumatology 2006 Februrary
Bone biopsy is a diagnostic procedure restricted to untypical, unclear and complicated cases in evidence-based guidelines on diagnosis and treatment of osteoporosis. Its relevance has been a topic of recent controversial discussion. This study was performed to evaluate its role and relevance in routine use. A total of 99 horizontal transiliac bone biopsies performed over a time period of 14 years because of an osteological indication in one single centre were analysed, which reflects that bone biopsy followed about 0.003% of patients' consultations. Bone biopsies were indicated for osteoporotic males (n = 63) and premenopausal osteoporotic females (n = 18) without endocrine abnormality and normal immunofixation (serum and urine), suspected systemic/malignant disease such as mastocytosis, osteogenesis imperfecta, non-secreting plasmocytoma, metastatic infiltration (n = 16) and decreasing bone mineral density under anti-osteoporotic treatment (n = 2). The most frequent diagnoses besides osteoporosis were normal histology, borderline finding towards mild osteoporosis, and osteoporomalacia with relevant osteoidosis. In some cases, pathological findings in bone marrow were detected. In most cases (82/99), bone biopsy led to consequences in medical treatment. Following histopathological diagnosis, 16 patients did not receive any anti-osteoporotic treatment. In six patients, further diagnostic procedures were initiated because of bone histology. Bone biopsy was well tolerated and complications were rare and mild. In conclusion, despite all progress in non-invasive diagnostic procedures for metabolic bone diseases such as osteoporosis, there remains a small but significant subset of patients who may benefit from inclusion of bone biopsy into the diagnostic procedure.

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