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JFSF Vol 3, No 3, September 2018, p.138-147

doi: 10.22540/JFSF-03-138


Review Article

Diagnostic imaging of two related chronic diseases: Sarcopenia and Osteoporosis

Luciana La Tegola1, Maria Mattera1, Samantha Cornacchia2, Xiaoguang Cheng3, Giuseppe Guglielmi1,4

  1. Università degli Studi di Foggia, Department of Radiology, Viale Luigi Pinto, 1. Foggia, Italy
  2. Medical Physics, “Dimiccoli” Hospital, Barletta, Italy
  3. Department of Radiology, Beijing Jishuitan Hospital, Beijing, China
  4. Ospedale Casa Sollievo della Sofferenza, Department of Radiology, Viale Cappuccini, 1. San Giovanni Rotondo, Italy

Keywords: Sarcopenia, Osteoporosis, DXA, QCT, MRI


Sarcopenia and osteoporosis are two major health problems worldwide, responsible for a serious clinical and financial burden due to the increasing life expectancy. Both when presented as a single entity and, in particular, in the form of “osteosarcopenia”, they lead to an important increased risk of falls, fractures, hospitalization and mortality. In dealing with these two pathological conditions, it is important to understand that between bone and muscle there is not only a functional correlation but also a close relationship in the development and in maintenance, which is well expressed by the concept of “bone-muscle unit”. This close relationship agrees with the existence of a linear association between sarcopenia and osteoporosis, in particular in elderly population. It is mandatory, in the clinical assessment of both diseases, to do an early diagnosis or to delay as far as possible the appearance of an established form in order to prevent the onset of complications. The aim of this review is to present the different imaging modalities available for a non-invasive investigation of bone and muscle mass and quality in osteoporosis and sarcopenia, with their application and limitations.