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:
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- 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.
- Goldman L, et al. Goldman's Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2012. http://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Nov. 25, 2013.
- Menkes CJ. Clinical manifestations, diagnosis, and treatment of osteomalacia. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Nov. 25, 2013.
- Bhan A, et al. Osteomalacia as a result of vitamin D deficiency. Rheumatology Disease Clinics of North America. 2012;38:81.
- Menkes CJ. Epidemiology and etiology of osteomalacia. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Nov. 25, 2013.
- Evaluation, treatment, and prevention of vitamin D deficiency: An Endocrine Society clinical practice guideline. Chevy Chase, Md.: The Endocrine Society. http://www.endocrine.org/education-and-practice-management/clinical-practice-guidelines. Accessed Nov. 25, 2013.
- Position statement on vitamin D. American Academy of Dermatology. http://www.aad.org/stories-and-news/news-releases/academy-issues-updated-position-statement-on-vitamin-d. Accessed Nov. 25, 2013.
- Chang-Miller A (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Jan. 20, 2014.