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Integrated imaging approach to osteoporosis: state-of-the-art review and update.

Osteoporosis is the most common of all metabolic bone disorders. It is characterized by low bone mass and microarchitectural deterioration of bone tissue, with a consequent increase in bone fragility and susceptibility to fractures. Because of the increasing aging of the world population, the number of persons affected by osteoporosis is also increasing. Complications related to osteoporosis can create social and economic burdens. For these reasons, the early diagnosis of osteoporosis is crucial. Conventional radiography allows qualitative and semiquantitative evaluation of osteoporosis, whereas other imaging techniques allow quantification of bone loss (eg, dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry and quantitative computed tomography [CT]), assessment for the presence of fractures (morphometry), and the study of bone properties (ultrasonography). In recent years, new imaging modalities such as micro-CT and high-resolution magnetic resonance imaging have been developed in an attempt to help diagnose osteoporosis in its early stages, thereby reducing social and economic costs and preventing patient suffering. The correct diagnosis of osteoporosis results in better management in terms of prevention and adequate pharmacologic or surgical treatment.

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