Osteoporosis & VCF

Osteoporosis and Microscopy 

Osteoporortic Bone

Normal Bone

Locations of Vertebral Fractures

Are most commonly located at the midthoracic region (T7–T8) and the thoracolumbar junction (T12–L1). Midthoracic region–thoracic kyphosis is most pronounced and loading (stress) during flexion is increased. Thoracolumbar junction–the relatively rigid thoracic spine connects to the more freely mobile lumbar segments. Correspond to the most mechanically compromised regions of the spine.

Osteoporosis is a systemic skeletal disease characterized by compromised bone strength that predisposes the affected bone to fracture


In the U.S., 700,000 vertebral compression fractures (VCFs) occur each year, more than the number of hip and wrist fractures combined.2
Approximately 150,000 people in the U.S. are hospitalized due to pain and medical management associated with VCFs (average hospital stay of 8 days), resulting in costs in excess of $1.6 billion annually.2
Osteoporosis-related disability confines patients to more immobile days in bed than stroke, heart attack or breast cancer.1
Estimated national direct expenditures (hospitals and nursing homes) for osteoporotic and associated fractures are $17 billion in 2001 ($47 million each day) and the cost is rising, according to the National Osteoporosis Foundation.
1. National Osteoporosis Foundation
2. Cooper C et al. J Bone Min Res. 1992;7:221–227.

Vertebral Fracture: Radiologic Assessment
A lateral spine X-ray examination is a method that can be used to screen for the presence of vertebral compression fractures.
STIR sequence MRI can be useful to determine index and/or plain radiograph culprit.
Palpating each spinous process to rule out disc pain as the underlying culprit would also be of value in the initial assessment of the patient to differentiate between back pain and vertebral compression fracture pain. 

Vertebral Fractures: Different types
Wedge fractures are most common