Archives of Osteoporosis

, 13:127 | Cite as

Is trabecular bone score less affected by degenerative-changes at the spine than lumbar spine BMD?

  • Kara B. AndersonEmail author
  • Kara L. Holloway-Kew
  • Mohammadreza Mohebbi
  • Mark A. Kotowicz
  • Didier Hans
  • Julie A. Pasco
Original Article



It has been established that degenerative-changes at the spine elevate bone mineral density at the lumbar spine. This study in men reports that trabecular bone score may be less affected by spinal degenerative-changes.


A recent tool for assessing trabecular microarchitecture at the lumbar spine, trabecular bone score (TBS), provides information about bone health complementary to lumbar spine areal BMD (here referred to as BMD). In men, mean BMD increases with increasing age due to degenerative-changes at the spine including osteophytes and aortic calcification. The aim of this study was to investigate whether TBS is similarly affected by the presence of degenerative-changes in men.


This study included 728 men aged 40–90 years enrolled in the Geelong Osteoporosis Study. Lumbar spine DXA scans (Lunar Prodigy) were used to determine TBS retrospectively (TBS iNsight software, Version 2.2), and for identification of degenerative-changes. Using multivariable regression techniques, the relationships between TBS or BMD and degenerative-changes were assessed, further adjusting for age and weight. The difference between each of the two methods was examined through testing interactions between method, degenerative-changes and age.


Of 728 men, 439 (60.3%) were identified as having one or more degenerative-changes at the lumbar spine. Adjusted mean TBS was 1.219 (1.203–1.232) and 1.196 (1.179–1.212) for those with and without degenerative-changes, respectively. Adjusted mean BMD was 1.317 g/cm2 (1.297–1.336) and 1.198 g/cm2 (1.173–1.223) for those with and without degenerative-changes, respectively. Partial r2 for degenerative-changes in the model for TBS was 0.076 and for BMD, 0.257 (both p < 0.05). The three-way interaction between method, degenerative-changes and age was significant (p = 0.05) indicating significant effect of artefacts on the standardised values, affected by age and method.


This study suggests that TBS is less affected by degenerative-changes at the spine than is BMD. Thus, TBS may prove useful in the assessment of fracture risk in men with degenerative-changes at the spine.


Trabecular bone score Men Lumbar spine degenerative-changes Bone mineral density 


Funding information

This study is supported by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) of Australia (251638, 299831, 628582), the Geelong Regional Medical Foundation, Arthritis Foundation of Australia, and Perpetual Trustees. KLH-K is supported by an Alfred Deakin Postdoctoral Research Fellowship.

Compliance with ethical standards

All participants provided written, informed consent. The study was approved by the Barwon Health Human Research Ethics Committee.

Conflict of interest

DH is co-owner of the TBS patent and has corresponding ownerships shares and position at Medimaps group. KBA, KLH-K, MM, MAK and JAP have no conflicts of interest to declare.


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Copyright information

© International Osteoporosis Foundation and National Osteoporosis Foundation 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kara B. Anderson
    • 1
    Email author
  • Kara L. Holloway-Kew
    • 1
  • Mohammadreza Mohebbi
    • 1
    • 2
  • Mark A. Kotowicz
    • 1
    • 3
    • 4
  • Didier Hans
    • 5
  • Julie A. Pasco
    • 1
    • 3
    • 4
    • 6
  1. 1.Epi-Centre for Healthy Ageing (ECHA), IMPACT Strategic Research Centre, School of MedicineDeakin UniversityGeelongAustralia
  2. 2.Biostatistics Unit, Faculty of HealthDeakin UniversityGeelongAustralia
  3. 3.Melbourne Medical School – Western Campus, Department of MedicineThe University of MelbourneSt AlbansAustralia
  4. 4.Barwon HealthGeelongAustralia
  5. 5.Center of Bone Diseases, Bone & Joint DepartmentLausanne University HospitalLausanneSwitzerland
  6. 6.Department of Epidemiology and Preventive MedicineMonash UniversityMelbourneAustralia

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