Comparison of Absorptiometric Evaluations from Total-Body and Local-Region Skeletal Scans

Document Type


Publication Date

Fall 2000


The most common measurement sites for dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) in clinical practice are the posteroanterior (PA) spine and femur. However, other skeletal regions may provide different bone density information. The purpose of this study was to establish the least number of DXA measurements needed to obtain complete information about bone status. A total of 262 normal female subjects, ages 8–50, were measured on a Lunar DPX-L scanner under total body, PA spine, lateral spine, and femur protocol. Forearm measurements were performed with a Lunar SP2 single-photon absorptiometry scanner. The various measurements were compared based on a linear regression model. The correlation coefficients for bone mineral density (BMD) between adjacent vertebrae were 0.92–0.95, and the associated standard errors of the estimate (SEE) were 4.5–5.5%. Total-body BMD can best predict BMD of the trunk, arms, and legs (SEE <4.3%), but least that of the lateral view of the spine (SEE >13.9%). BMD values of the leg from total-body scans predict those from the femoral neck with an error of 9.0%, and those of the trochanteric region with 11.1%. If the error between adjacent vertebrae (6%) is considered acceptable, then a total-body measurement combined with a lateral view of the spine and a femur scan are adequate.



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