Bone Health Program Overview

LIke ThisLIke ThisLIke ThisLIke ThisLIke This

The Bone Health Program at Boston Children's Hospital  has been evaluating patients since 2000.  We are a team of specialists (physicians, nurses, technologists and administrative staff) with expertise in treating children and adolescents who have or are at risk for low bone density and fractures.

The Bone Health Program evaluates common and rare pediatric bone health conditions such as:

  • Low Bone Density
  • Multiple Fractures
  • Osteoporosis
  • Osteopenia
  • Vitamin D Deficiency
  • Metabolic Bone Disease/Rickets
  • Osteogenesis Imperfecta
  • Idiopathic Juvenile Osteoporosis

Low bone density may also occur due to secondary medical conditions such as:

  • Anorexia Nervosa
  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease
  • Parenteral Nutrition
  • Muscular Dystrophy
  • Long-term Steroid Use
  • Cerebral Palsy
  • Cystic Fibrosis

At Boston Children's Hospital, the physicians in the Bone Health Program are collectively board-certified in pediatric and adult endocrinology, genetics, adolescent medicine and clinical densitometry.  We are committed to help parents protect their children from low bone density.  We understand that children and adolescents with low bone density have a wide range of needs and we strive to provide patient and family-focused, empathetic and compassionate care.

Bone Density

As part of a comprehensive bone health evaluation, your physician may request a bone density test.

Dual-Energy X-Ray Absorptiometry (DXA)

We evaluate bone density with DXA, the gold standard in bone density measurement. DXA is a safe and painless test performed in a private, child-friendly room. Two x-ray beams, each with different levels of energy, are directed at your child's bones. The amount of energy absorbed by the bones tells us the bone density.

                         


Peripheral Quantitative Computed Tomography (pQCT)

QCT is another way to measure bone density, usually in an extremity such as the forearm or lower leg. QCT is also able to evaluate the geometry and strength of bones. Currently, pQCT is used for research purposes only.   

Glossary

show_more_start

Body composition:
The division of soft tissue into fat and lean tissue, based on the patient's R-value. Body composition is sometimes referred to as tissue quantitation.

Bone density:
The ratio of bone mass to volume, indicating bone compactness. Bone density increases rapidly through adolescence, more slowly until age 35 and then plateaus and declines. Bone density is measured most frequently in the spine, hip, wrist, forearm and/or heel for the detection and diagnosis of osteoporosis.

Bone mass:
The amount of mineral in a bone. Although this is different from bone density, the terms are often used interchangeably.

Bone mineral density (BMD):
The quantity calculated by dividing the measured bone mineral content by the measured bone area in a densitometry study. The bone mineral density carries units of gram per square centimeter and is most often compared to reference population values.

Osteoporosis:
A skeletal disorder characterized by compromised bone strength predisposing to an increased risk of fracture. Bone strength reflects the integration of two main features: bone density and bone quality. In children, osteoporosis is defined by both a low bone density measurement and evidence of skeletal fragility. (Rauch F, Plotkin H, DiMeglio L, Engelbert RH, Henderson RC, Munns C, Wenkert D, and Zeitler P (2008) Fracture prediction and the definition of osteoporosis in children and adolescents: ISCD 2007 Pediatric Official Positions. J Clin Densitometry 11:22-28

Peak bone mass:
A concept that bone mass has a maximal level given optimal conditions. Peak bone mass is believed to be controlled by genetic factors (age, sex and body size) and significantly impacted by environmental factors (nutrition, exercise and general health). The concept of peak bone mass is important to the study of bone disease in that if an individual achieves maximal (peak) bone mass, they may reduce the risk of serious bone loss.

 

show_more_end

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Request an Appointment

If this is a medical emergency, please dial 9-1-1. This form should not be used in an emergency.

Patient Information
Date of Birth:
Contact Information
Appointment Details
Send RequestIf you do not see the specialty you are looking for, please call us at: 617-355-6000.International visitors should call International Health Services at +1-617-355-5209.
Please complete all required fields

This department is currently not accepting appointment requests online. Please call us at: 617-355-6000. International +1-617-355-6000.

This department is currently not accepting appointment requests online. Please call us at: 617-355-6000. International +1-617-355-6000.

Thank you.

Your request has been successfully submitted

You will be contacted within 1 business day.

If you have questions or would like more information, please call:

617-355-6000 +1-617-355-6000
close
Find a Doctor
Search by Clinician's Last Name or Specialty:
Select by Location:
Search by First Letter of Clinician's Last Name: *ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ
More optionsSearch
Condition & Treatments
Search for a Condition or Treatment:
Show Items Starting With: *ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ
View allSearch
Visitor Information
The future of pediatrics will be forged by thinking differently, breaking paradigms and joining together in a shared vision of tackling the toughest challenges before us.”
- Sandra L. Fenwick, President and CEO
Close