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Test ID: BHQL    
Bone Histomorphometry, Qualitative

Useful For Suggests clinical disorders or settings where the test may be helpful

Undetermined metabolic bone disease


Diagnosis of renal osteodystrophy


Diagnosis of osteomalacia


Diagnosis of osteoporosis


Diagnosis of Paget's disease


Assessing effects of therapy


Identification of some disorders of the hematopoietic system


Diagnosis of aluminum toxicity


Identifying the presence of iron in the bone

Clinical Information Discusses physiology, pathophysiology, and general clinical aspects, as they relate to a laboratory test

Bone histomorphometry is a very sophisticated procedure utilizing full thickness bone biopsy. Techniques such as 2 time-interval labeling with tetracycline permit the direct measurement of the rate of bone formation. The information derived is useful in the diagnosis of metabolic bone diseases, including renal osteodystrophy, osteomalacia, and osteoporosis, and other disorders such as aluminum toxicity and iron abnormalities.

Reference Values Describes reference intervals and additional information for interpretation of test results. May include intervals based on age and sex when appropriate. Intervals are Mayo-derived, unless otherwise designated. If an interpretive report is provided, the reference value field will state this.

All results will be called to the physician designated on the Bone Histomorphometry: Patient Information.

Interpretation Provides information to assist in interpretation of the test results

Computer-generated histomorphometric values are given.


Normal histomorphometric values for iliac crest are provided (female only).


An interpretive report is provided.

Cautions Discusses conditions that may cause diagnostic confusion, including improper specimen collection and handling, inappropriate test selection, and interfering substances

Decalcified bone is not acceptable for histomorphometric analysis.


Mineralization or bone formation rates can be done only when tetracycline has been administered on a specific schedule prior to biopsy.


The use of metal-free containers is required to avoid aluminum or iron contamination.


It is preferred that the specimen is shipped in 70% ethanol because it preserves the tetracycline label in the bone.


Biopsy site of preference is iliac crest.

Clinical Reference Provides recommendations for further in-depth reading of a clinical nature

Recker RR: Bone Histomorphometry: Techniques and Interpretation. Boca Raton, FL, CRC Press, 1983

Special Instructions and Forms Describes specimen collection and preparation information, test algorithms, and other information pertinent to test. Also includes pertinent information and consent forms to be used when requesting a particular test