Importance of precision in bone density measurements

J Clin Densitom. 2001 Summer;4(2):105-10. doi: 10.1385/jcd:4:2:105.


Bone densitometry, regardless of the specific technique, is not perfectly reproducible even when consistently performed in exact accordance with the manufacturer's recommendations. Precision must be quantified at each densitometry facility in precision studies of the various skeletal sites used for monitoring. The precision, as the root-mean-square standard deviation or root-mean-square coefficient of variation, is then used to determine the change in bone density that constitutes the least significant change and the minimum interval between follow-up measurements. Until precision studies are performed, the least significant change cannot be determined for any level of statistical confidence, making the interpretation of serial studies impossible.

MeSH terms

  • Absorptiometry, Photon / statistics & numerical data*
  • Adult
  • Bone Density*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Spine / diagnostic imaging