Orthopaedic Surgeons Strengthen Your Bone Health

The highly skilled orthopaedic surgery team at the University of Chicago Medicine has the experience and advanced treatment options needed for fragility fractures and bone health. We understand that osteoporosis — the weakening of the bones due to loss of bone mass and tissue damage — puts older patients at risk for bone breaks. Fragility fractures — broken bones related to osteoporosis — affect more than 2 million individuals over age 50 in the U.S. each year. Yet, less than 20 percent of these patients receive appropriate evaluation and treatment for their underlying disease. We work with patients to identify any bone issues and decide what treatment options would be best for their care.

What causes bone fragility?

Many things can lead to bone fragility, or weaken the bones, such as diet, lifestyle, medication and more. Additionally, many of the treatments used for common medical conditions can also cause bones to weaken. However, the biggest threat to bone fragility is osteoporosis, which creates an overall loss of bone mass over time, making fragility fractures more likely to occur.

Risk Factors for Bone Loss

  • Smoking: Nicotine absorbs calcium in the body
  • Heavy drinking: Alcohol can decrease the body's ability to absorb nutrients
  • Medications: Some prescriptions are associated with causing rapid osteoporosis, such as medications to treat epilepsy, cancer and transplant rejection
  • Kidney disease: Mineral bone disease (MBD) is often a side effect of kidney disease
  • Family history of osteoporosis: Hereditary osteoporosis could make someone predisposed to weakened bones
  • Previous fractures: Those with at least one previous fracture are at an increased risk of additional breaks

Education, Evaluation & Treatment for Fragility Fractures

The orthopaedic surgeons at UChicago Medicine are working to raise awareness about the increasing prevalence of osteoporosis and the consequences of bone loss.

Fragility fractures are three times more common than heart attacks. This is a huge and under-recognized public health issue. In addition to treating a fragility fracture, our orthopaedic team evaluates its cause and educates the patient on how to minimize future bone loss to reduce the risk of additional fractures. Bone health and fragility care at UChicago Medicine follows guidelines that were developed by the National Osteoporosis Foundation and incorporated into AOA’s Own the Bone™ campaign.

Prevention for Fragile Bones

It is common to worry about bone health, but taking active steps to keep bones strong with  prevent fragility fractures:

  • Ensure you get enough calcium and vitamin D through health eating and vitamins
  • Make sure that you maintain an active, healthy lifestyle  
  • Perform weight-bearing exercises, such as running and walking, to put good stress on your body and bones

Bone Health Clinic

Clinical care providers at UChicago Medicine’s Bone Health Clinic work to identify, evaluate and treat patients with osteoporosis or low bone density related fractures. They provide education and innovative treatment options to reduce the risk of additional fractures.

Bone Health Clinic services include:

  • Blood work 
  • Bone density scans, called dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DEXA)
  • Fracture risk assessments
  • Patient-specific treatment plans to promote bone health and reduce fracture risks

Meet Our Bone Fragility Team

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