Tests and diagnosis

By Mayo Clinic Staff

In order to pinpoint the underlying cause of osteomalacia and to rule out other bone disorders, such as osteoporosis, you may undergo one or more of the following tests:

  • Blood and urine tests. In cases of osteomalacia caused by vitamin D deficiency or by phosphorus loss, abnormal levels of vitamin D and the minerals calcium and phosphorus are often detected.
  • X-ray. Slight cracks in your bones that are visible on X-rays — called Looser transformation zones — are a characteristic feature of people with osteomalacia.
  • Bone biopsy. During a bone biopsy, your doctor inserts a slender needle through your skin and into your bone to withdraw a small sample for viewing under a microscope. This procedure is done after using a local anesthetic and takes only about a half-hour. Although a bone biopsy is very accurate in detecting osteomalacia, it's not often needed to make the diagnosis.
April 18, 2014