What does bone quality mean?

Leonardo Mellibovsky Saidler, Adolfo Díez Pérez

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleResearchpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Bone quality is a new concept included in the current defini-tion of osteoporosis. It arises since bone mineral density (BMD) as measured by densitometry only partially explains the bone resistance to the fractures. The effects of the drugs on bone quality, reflected in the reduction of the risk of fractures, are observed before changes in BMD are detectable. We do not have a single method to measure the quality of bone. Only some tools, that allow partial and complementary aspects of what bone quality means, are currently available. Bone remodeling is not only related with bone mass but also determines the bone geometry, the microarchitecture, the bone ultrastructure and the protein matrix characteristics. For the assessment of bone remodeling the available techniques are histomorphometry in bone biopsies after tetracycline labeling, biochemical markers of remodeling in blood and urine and positron emission tomography (PET). For the valuation of the microarchitecture, besides the histomorfometry, magnetic nuclear resonance imaging (MRI), and micro-computed tomography (μCT) in vitro and vitro, among other methods, are valuable tools. All these techniques permit an evaluation of bone beyond a purely quantitative assessment, applicable in clinical routine in a near future.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)165-176
JournalSeminarios de la Fundacion Espanola de Reumatologia
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2006


  • Biochemical markers
  • Bone mineral density (BMD)
  • Bone quality
  • Bone remodeling
  • Densitometry


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