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Our world-renowned team of endocrinologists, which includes experts in osteoporosis and bone disease, provide individualized treatment plans to suit the specific needs of all our patients.
Because physicians at the University of Chicago Medicine have been actively involved in the research leading to the development of many new osteoporosis drugs, they are particularly well qualified to help each patient choose the best medication and to evaluate the effectiveness of the treatment. With the availability of many new drugs for osteoporosis, it is very important to see a physician who understands the risks and benefits of these drugs and knows which drug is the ideal choice for a given patient.
Osteoporosis is often diagnosed with a bone mineral density (BMD) test, as well as a comprehensive physical exam and other lab tests. UChicago Medicine's bone mineral density testing facility uses the state-of-the-art DEXA system. This measurement is the best way to identify people who have increased risk of fracture before they break a bone. Our testing methods are used for research studies with meticulous quality control and reproducibility. Consequently, relatively small changes in bone density can be detected and treatment is adjusted accordingly.
In addition, we can calculate a patient's Trabecular Bone Score (TBS), a new method for evaluating bone structure on spine images generated by DEXA. TBS has been shown to complement bone density testing and to independently predict fracture risk, which helps the clinician determine which patients need more aggressive therapy.
We also perform Vertebral Fracture Assessments (VFA), which are images of the spine obtained on the densitometer specifically developed for detection of vertebral fractures. Vertebral fractures are a hallmark of osteoporosis and are strongly predictive of future fractures. However, fewer than one-third of patients with vertebral fractures on imaging know that they have them and, thus, need this kind of testing to discover the fractures. The VFA is a simple non-invasive test with low radiation exposure (1/10th of a chest X-ray). When the VFA reveals a fracture, our physicians may recommend a more aggressive treatment approach given the patient's higher risk of future fractures.
Our mineral laboratory provides measurements of minerals, hormones, vitamins and bone biochemical markers in the blood and urine. These measurements help our endocrinologists diagnose the types of bone disease present and also monitor the effects of treatment.
We offer a wide range of treatment options for patients who are suffering from osteoporosis, including medical and surgical treatments. We perform vertebroplasty and kyphoplasty (procedures that stabilizes the spine due to osteoporosis) as well as minimally invasive procedures to reduce pain in patients with spinal fractures from osteoporosis. Physicians may also suggest medication, improved diet and exercise to manage osteoporosis.
Our team includes highly skilled physical therapists who have a special interest in osteoporosis. This is particularly important because patients with osteoporosis have increased bone fragility and require a special therapeutic approach not always found in general physical therapy departments. Our physical therapists are available to meet individually to assist patients with the development of personalized exercise programs.