Radiology of Osteogenesis Imperfecta, Rickets and Other Bony Fragility States

Alistair D Calder
Endocrine Development 2015, 28: 56-71
This section gives an overview of radiological findings in bony fragility states, with a special focus on osteogenesis imperfecta (OI) and rickets. Conventional radiological assessment of bone density is inaccurate and imprecise and only reliably detects severe osteopaenia. However, other aspects of bone structure and morphology can be assessed, and it is possible to distinguish between osteopaenic and osteomalacic states. OI is a heterogeneous group of disorders of type 1 collagen formation and processing that are characterised by varying degrees of bony fragility, with presentations varying from perinatal lethality to asymptomatic. Radiological diagnosis of severe forms is usually straightforward, but that of milder disease may be challenging because specific features are often absent. However, a multidisciplinary approach is usually successful. Features of OI, including Wormian bones, skull base deformities, vertebral involvement and long bone fractures and deformities, are reviewed in this section. Rickets is best defined as a disorder of the growth plate characterised by the impaired apoptosis of hypertrophied chondrocytes. Vitamin D deficiency is a common cause of rickets. The patho-anatomical basis of radiological findings in rickets is reviewed and illustrated. Rickets is frequently accompanied by hyperparathyroidism and osteomalacia. Rickets used to be classified as calciopaenic or phosphopaenic but is now referred to as parathyroid hormone or fibroblast growth factor 23 mediated, respectively [1]. The radiological features of the two forms are reviewed.

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