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General Orthopaedics

FRAX and the assessment of the risk of developing a fragility fracture

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Osteoporosis is common and the health and financial cost of fragility fractures is considerable. The burden of cardiovascular disease has been reduced dramatically by identifying and targeting those most at risk. A similar approach is potentially possible in the context of fragility fractures. The World Health Organization created and endorsed the use of FRAX, a fracture risk assessment tool, which uses selected risk factors to calculate a quantitative, patient-specific, ten-year risk of sustaining a fragility fracture. Treatment can thus be based on this as well as on measured bone mineral density. It may also be used to determine at-risk individuals, who should undergo bone densitometry. FRAX has been incorporated into the national osteoporosis guidelines of countries in the Americas, Europe, the Far East and Australasia. The United Kingdom National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence also advocates its use in their guidance on the assessment of the risk of fragility fracture, and it may become an important tool to combat the health challenges posed by fragility fractures.

Correspondence should be sent to Mr C. E. Uzoigwe; e-mail:

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