Journal 12, December 2018pages: 773-779
Because fragility fractures have an enormous impact on the practice of medicine and global health systems, effective screening is imperative. Currently, dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA), which has limited ability to predict fractures, is being used. We evaluated the current literature for a method that may constitute a better screening method to predict fragility fractures. A systematic review of the literature was conducted on computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and ultrasound to evaluate screening methods to predict fragility fractures. We found that ultrasound had sufficient data on fracture prediction to perform meta-analysis; therefore, we analyzed prospective ultrasound cohort studies. Six study populations, consisting of 29,299 individuals (87,296 person-years of observation) and including 992 fractures, were analyzed. MRI was found to be sensitive and specific for osteoporosis, but its use for screening has not been sufficiently evaluated and more research is needed on cost, accessibility, technical challenges, and sensitivity and specificity. CT could predict fracture occurrence; however, it may be problematic for screening due to cost, exposure to radiation, and availability. Ultrasound was found to predict fracture occurrence with an increased risk of 1.45 (95% confidence interval 1.21–1.73) to fracture. Ultrasound has not replaced DXA as a screening tool for osteoporosis, perhaps due to operator-dependency and difficulty in standardization of testing.