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Open Access Research article

Increased vertebral morphometric fracture in patients with postsurgical hypoparathyroidism despite normal bone mineral density

Maira L Mendonça1, Francisco A Pereira1, Marcello H Nogueira-Barbosa1, Lucas M Monsignore1, Sara R Teixeira1, Plauto CA Watanabe2, Lea MZ Maciel1 and Francisco JA de Paula13*

Author affiliations

1 Department of Internal Medicine, School of Medicine of Ribeirão Preto, University of São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil

2 Department of Radiology, School of Dentistry of Ribeirão Preto, University of São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil

3 Department of Internal Medicine, School of Medicine of Ribeirão Preto, University of São Paulo, Av. Bandeirantes 3900, Ribeirão Preto, SP, 14049-900, Brazil

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Citation and License

BMC Endocrine Disorders 2013, 13:1  doi:10.1186/1472-6823-13-1

Published: 3 January 2013



The mechanism behind parathyroid hormone (PTH) activation of bone remodeling is intimately dependent on the time of exposure of bone cells to hormone levels. Sustained high PTH levels trigger catabolism, while transitory elevations induce anabolism. The effects of hypoparathyroidism (PhPT) on bone are unknown. The objective was to study the impact of PhPT on bone mineral density (BMD), on the frequency of subclinical vertebral fracture and on mandible morphometry.


The study comprised thirty-three postmenopausal women, 17 controls (CG) and 16 with PhPT (PhPTG) matched for age, weight and height. Bone mineral density (BMD) of lumbar spine, total hip and 1/3 radius, radiographic evaluation of vertebral morphometry, panoramic radiography of the mandible, and biochemical evaluation of mineral metabolism and bone remodeling were evaluated in both groups.


There were no significant differences in lumbar spine or total hip BMD between groups. There was marked heterogeneity of lumbar spine BMD in PhPTG (high = 4, normal = 9, osteopenia = 1, and osteoporosis = 2 patients). BMD was decreased in the 1/3 radius in PhPTG P < 0.005). The PhPTG group exhibited an increased frequency of morphometric vertebral fractures and decreased mandible cortical thickness.


The study suggests that vertebral fragility occurs in PhPT despite normal or even high BMD. The current results encourage further studies to evaluate the use of panoramic radiography in the identification of osteometabolic disorders, such as PhPT and the development of a more physiological treatment for PhPT.

Postsurgical hypoparathyroidism; Osteoporosis; Morphometric fracture; Parathyroid hormone; Panoramic radiography