Osteoporosis Treatment and Research

Osteoporosis, also called "bone-thinning" disease, is a condition that has no visible symptoms and causes brittle bones and loss of bone mass that can result in hip, spine, or wrist fractures. The disease, which is preventable, can cause major breaks that may seriously limit mobility and physical ability, and cause significant disability.

To reduce your chance of developing osteoporosis, it is important to understand what you can do to prevent the disease, including:

  • Making sure you get adequate amounts of vitamin D and calcium in your diet
  • Incorporating weight-bearing exercise (such as walking, tennis, or aerobics) into your fitness routine
  • Avoid smoking and excessive alcohol consumption
  • Follow your doctor’s recommendation for bone density screening

If osteoporosis has advanced, you may need to have medical treatment to avoid fracture and major bone breaks that can often lead to surgery.

What are Treatments for Osteoporosis?

If you have osteoporosis, there are treatment options that will help strengthen your bones. Even if you already have been diagnosed with osteoporosis, medications such alendronate (Fosamax®), risedronate (Actonel®), calcitonin (Micalcin®), and raloxifene (Evista®) can still help strengthen your bones.

Medications you take for other health conditions (particularly steroids) can contribute to bone loss. If you take a medication for a chronic health condition, ask your doctor if it could affect your bones and if so, what actions can be taken to protect your bones.

Osteoporosis, left untreated, can lead to fracture and bone breaks that require orthopaedic surgery.

Osteoporosis Treatment at Brigham and Women's Hospital

Physicians in the Orthopaedic & Arthritis Center at BWH provide unique, innovative and comprehensive diagnosis, treatment and management for osteoporosis and a wide spectrum of other orthopaedic and rheumatic diseases.

The Skeletal Health and Osteoporosis Center is one of the most innovative research and treatment programs in the area of osteoporosis. For this reason, thousands of patients come to our Center for diagnosis and treatment every year.

Founded in 1987, the Center has become a multifaceted program including research, education, clinical care, and a bone densitometry unit that is noted for its quality standards. Specific areas of expertise include osteoporosis, metabolic bone disease, and other skeletal disorders.

The program offers a full integration of clinical, research, and educational programs, and multidisciplinary interaction among numerous departments and subspecialties – including rheumatology, orthopaedic surgery, women's health, and endocrinology.

Bone and Joint Care at Brigham and Women's Hospital

The Orthopaedic & Arthritis Center at BWH is one of the most highly regarded orthopaedic and joint disease research and treatment programs in the world. Comprehensive and innovative bone and joint care is the foundation of the Center, beginning nearly a century ago when one of our founding hospitals, the Robert Breck Brigham Hospital, became the first teaching hospital in the country wholly devoted to arthritis and related diseases.

Today, the Center – a collaboration of the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery and the Division of Rheumatology, Inflammation, and Immunity - is known for its pioneering team of physicians and researchers dedicated to doing everything possible for our patients while helping to develop and apply the most advanced treatments for bone and joint diseases and conditions.

Patient- and Family-centered Care

BWH has long been committed to not only the care of our patients but also the many other needs that they and their families have. This philosophy of patient- and family-centered care involves systems and services that emphasize healing in a comfortable, relaxed environment.

Quality of Patient Care

BWH is committed to providing all of our patients with the safest, highest-quality, most-satisfying care possible and follow established protocols that have been shown to improve patient outcomes. Our Inpatient Satisfaction Survey, sent to patients’ to assess their total care experience, helps us to monitor what we are doing well and areas for improvement. We pride ourselves in the Quality of Patient Care we provide and how we are measured compared with other hospitals.

Brigham and Women's Hospital Osteoporosis Treatment Team

Year after year, our Rheumatology and Orthopaedic Services are ranked among the top programs in the country by U.S. News & World Report.

The Orthopaedic & Arthritis Center is able to maintain this level of care through a combination of medical expertise, with one of the largest and most experienced staffs in the country; a commitment to quality care, demonstrated by our numerous quality and safety awards; state-of-the-art facilities; and advanced technologies.

Our Orthopaedic & Arthritis Center team of physicians, nurses, physician’s assistants, and staff work closely with colleagues in specialties throughout BWH and nursing to deliver safe, effective, and compassionate care to every patient.

Our Rheumatology, Orthopaedic Surgery and Endocrinology Team:

Contact Us

If you believe you should have an evaluation and would like to schedule an appointment with one of our osteoporosis experts, call 1-800-294-9999 to speak to one of our knowledgeable coordinators who can help to connect you to the doctor that best meets your needs.

Meryl LeBoff, MD, Director of Skeletal Health, Osteoporosis Center, and Bone Density Unit, discusses osteoporosis risks, steps that can be taken to reduce bone fractures, techniques for detecting osteoporosis and osteoporosis treatment. Read the Preventing, Diagnosing and Treating Osteoporosis video transcript.

Learn more about Brigham and Women's Hospital

For over a century, a leader in patient care, medical education and research, with expertise in virtually every specialty of medicine and surgery.

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