Author(s): Franck H, Munz M, Scherrer M
Bone densitometry focuses on bone mineral area density (BMD in g/cm2) of the proximal femur and spine in anterior-posterior (AP) projections. Artifacts, such as osteoarthritis and osteophytic calcifications (OC) influence spine BMD, especially in AP scans. If only two sites are measured, as is usual in clinical practice, there may be advantages to measuring both femora rather than one femur and the spine. This would not be useful, however, if there was strong symmetry between the two sides. Furthermore, fan beam (FB) techniques have become available for measuring BMD with less data acquisition time. We compared densitometry of opposing femora in 421 patients (369 women, mean age 59.0 +/- 4.8; 52 men, mean age 56.9 +/- 7.4) using dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA): both single-beam (SB) and FB modes were evaluated. The precision errors in vivo (short- and midterm) of total BMD were 0.7% for both SB and FB. The total BMD and BMC of the left hip (0.817 +/- 0.124 g/cm2, 31. 3 +/- 6.4 g) were significantly (P < 0.001) higher (2-3%) than the corresponding values of the right hip (0.801 +/- 0.125 g/cm2, 30.3 +/- 6.3 g) in both SB and FB (left BMD 0.802 +/- 0.117 g/cm2, BMC 30. 0 +/- 6.2 g versus right BMD 0.795 +/- 0.117 g/cm2, BMC 29.3 +/- 6.3 g) modes. However, BMD of the femoral neck and Ward's triangle were not significantly (P > 0.05) different between the two sides. The FB results were generally 2% lower than SB results. There were highly significant (P < 0.001) correlations (r > 0.9) between both hips using both SB and FB. For diagnostic procedures and longitudinal studies, one should consider that there are bilateral differences of femur BMD, as well as differences between FB and SB scan modes.