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Bone Health and Fragility

Douglas Dirschl, MD Douglas R. Dirschl, MD, chairman of the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery and Rehabilitation Medicine, leads the bone health and fragility program.

Osteoporosis, the weakening of the bones due to loss of bone mass and tissue damage, puts older patients at risk for breaking a bone. Fragility fractures -- broken bones related to osteoporosis -- affect more than 2 million individuals over age 50 in the U.S. each year. Yet, less than 20 percent of these patients receive appropriate evaluation and treatment for their underlying disease.

Education, Evaluation and Treatment

The orthopaedic surgeons at the University of Chicago Medicine are working to raise awareness about the increasing prevalence of osteoporosis and the consequences of bone loss.

"Fragility fractures are three times more common than heart attacks,"explained orthopaedic surgeon and bone health expert, Douglas R. Dirschl, MD. "This is a huge and under-recognized public health issue." As president of the American Orthopaedic Association (AOA), Dirschl was instrumental in developing the organization’s "Own the Bone"™ campaign, a national program designed to bring attention to the increasing prevalence of osteoporosis and the consequences of bone loss.

In addition to treating a fragility fracture, our orthopaedic team evaluates its cause and educates the patient on how to minimize future bone loss to reduce the risk of additional fractures. Bone health and fragility care at University of Chicago Medicine follows guidelines that were developed by the National Osteoporosis Foundation and incorporated into AOA’s Own the Bone™ campaign.

Bone Health Clinic

Clinical care providers at the University of Chicago Medicine’s Bone Health Clinic work to identify, evaluate and treat patients with osteoporosis or low bone density related fractures. They provide education and innovative treatment options to reduce the risk of additional fractures.

Bone Health Clinic services include:

  • Fracture risk assessments
  • Bone density scans, called dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DEXA)
  • Patient-specific treatment plans to promote bone health and reduce fracture risks
  • Blood work testing

Bone Health and Fragility Physician Team
Douglas R. Dirschl, MD

Rex Haydon, MD, PhD

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