Bone mineral density differences between paraplegic and quadriplegic patients: a cross-sectional study

Spinal Cord. 1999 May;37(5):358-61. doi: 10.1038/


Study design: This cross-sectional study was conducted by comparing bone mineral density (BMD) of paraplegic and quadriplegic patients.

Objectives: The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship between the bone mineral loss and injury level in spinal cord injury patients.

Settings: Experiments were conducted at Yoneda Hospital and Research Center of Health, Physical Fitness and Sports, Nagoya University, Nagoya, Japan.

Methods: Lumbar spine (L2-4), proximal femur (femoral neck, trochanter region and Ward's triangle) and whole body BMD were measured in ten paraplegic and ten quadriplegic patients using dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA, HITACHI BMD-IX).

Results: Significant differences were observed in the lumbar spine, trochanter region and upper extremities BMD between paraplegic and quadriplegic patients (P<0.05, P<0.05 and P<0.01, respectively), but not in the femoral neck, Ward's triangle, head, pelvis, lower extremities or whole body BMD.

Conclusion: These results suggest that the injury level influences on the lumbar spine, upper extremities and trochanter region BMD. From a biomechanical standpoint, it is possible to explain that the differences in mechanical loading exerted on bones also affected the difference of lumbar spine BMD in the two groups.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Absorptiometry, Photon
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Bone Density*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Paraplegia / etiology
  • Paraplegia / physiopathology*
  • Quadriplegia / etiology
  • Quadriplegia / physiopathology*
  • Spinal Cord Injuries / complications