Vertebral fractures are an emerging complication of acromegaly but their prediction is still difficult occurring even in patients with normal bone mineral density. In this study we evaluated the ability of high-resolution cone-beam computed tomography to provide information on skeletal abnormalities associated with vertebral fractures in acromegaly. 40 patients (24 females, 16 males; median age 57 years, range 25–72) and 21 healthy volunteers (10 females, 11 males; median age 60 years, range: 25–68) were evaluated for trabecular (bone volume/trabecular volume ratio, mean trabecular separation, and mean trabecular thickness) and cortical (thickness and porosity) parameters at distal radius using a high-resolution cone-beam computed tomography system. All acromegaly patients were evaluated for morphometric vertebral fractures and for mineral bone density by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry at lumbar spine, total hip, femoral neck, and distal radius. Acromegaly patients with vertebral fractures (15 cases) had significantly (p < 0.05) lower bone volume/trabecular volume ratio, greater mean trabecular separation, and higher cortical porosity vs. nonfractured patients, without statistically significant differences in mean trabecular thickness and cortical thickness. Fractured and nonfractured acromegaly patients did not have significant differences in bone density at either skeletal site. Patients with acromegaly showed lower bone volume/trabecular volume ratio (p = 0.003) and mean trabecular thickness (p < 0.001) and greater mean trabecular separation (p = 0.02) as compared to control subjects, without significant differences in cortical thickness and porosity. This study shows for the first time that abnormalities of bone microstructure are associated with radiological vertebral fractures in acromegaly. High-resolution cone-beam computed tomography at the distal radius may be useful to evaluate and predict the effects of acromegaly on bone microstructure.
- Bone microstructure
- Cone beam computed tomography
- Vertebral fractures
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism