Osteoporosis is a systemic disorder predominantly affecting postmenopausal women but also men at an advanced age. Both genders may suffer from low-energy fractures of, for example, the proximal humerus when reduction of the bone stock or/and quality has occurred.
The aim of the current study was to compare the amount of bone in typical fracture zones of the proximal humerus in osteoporotic and non-osteoporotic individuals.
The amount of bone in the proximal humerus was determined histomorphometrically in frontal plane sections. The donor bones were allocated to normal and osteoporotic groups using the T-score from distal radius DXA measurements of the same extremities. The T-score evaluation was done according to WHO criteria. Regional thickness of the subchondral plate and the metaphyseal cortical bone were measured using interactive image analysis.
At all measured locations the amount of cancellous bone was significantly lower in individuals from the osteoporotic group compared to the non-osteoporotic one. The osteoporotic group showed more significant differences between regions of the same bone than the non-osteoporotic group. In both groups the subchondral cancellous bone and the subchondral plate were least affected by bone loss. In contrast, the medial metaphyseal region in the osteoporotic group exhibited higher bone loss in comparison to the lateral side.
This observation may explain prevailing fracture patterns, which frequently involve compression fractures and certainly has an influence on the stability of implants placed in this medial region. It should be considered when planning the anchoring of osteosynthesis materials in osteoporotic patients with fractures of the proximal humerus.