Lateral spine densitometry in obese women

E. R. Brooks*, D. Heltz, P. Wozniak, C. Partington, J. C. Lovejoy

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


The lateral (LAT) spine scan has been suggested as a more sensitive measure than posterior-anterior (PA) scanning for assessing age-related bone loss in normal-weight postmenopausal women. The measurement error of PA and LAT bone mineral density (BMD) using dual energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) has also been shown to rise with incremental increases in fat and from large variance in fat thickness, respectively. The purpose of this cross-sectional study was to determine specific affects of obesity on paired PA and LAT lumbar (L2-L4) BMD and Z score (BMD of patient versus age-matched reference database) correlation in 30 obese postmenopausal women (mean BMI ± SD = 33.3 ± 4.06). The mean PA and LAT BMD ± SD were 0.946 ± 0.123 and 0.749 ± 0.134, respectively. The mean PA and LAT Z scores were -0.17 ± 1.15 and 0.80 ±1.7. The correlation between PA and LAT BMD was significantly lower (r = 0.55; P < 0.05) than previously reported, and PA and LAT Z score correlation was (r = 0.57; P = 0.0016). After adjusting for body mass index (BMI), percent body fat, fat mass, and truncal fat by DXA, waist:hip ratio (WHR) and visceral and subcutaneous abdominal fat by computerized axial tomography (CT), PA and LAT Z score correlation increased to r = 0.62; P = 0.0065. In our subjects, the mean LAT Z score was 4.6 times higher than the mean AP Z, contrary to previous observations in normal-weight postmenopausal women. Our findings may be due to increased soft tissue composition and fat inhomogeneity in the LAT scanning field resulting in increased X-ray attenuation in obesity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)173-176
Number of pages4
JournalCalcified Tissue International
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 1 1998


  • Absorptiometry
  • Bone density
  • DXA
  • Densitometry
  • Lumbar vertebrae
  • Obesity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Endocrinology


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