Bone Histomorphometry Laboratory

Laboratory Information and Services

The purpose of the Bone Histomorphometry Laboratory is to process and evaluate undecalcified bone biopsies from patients with proven or suspected metabolic bone disease. We perform a computer-assisted morphometric analysis to evaluate the static and kinetic parameters of bone quantity and turnover. We then provide an interpretation of the results.

Photo of Lab Computer System Bone processing in our laboratory differs from routine in that the calcium is not removed. The decalcification process employed in routine laboratories obscures certain morphologic details and makes kinetic bone measurements impossible to calculate. Since the mineral component of the bone is left intact, we must embed this bone in a substance much harder than paraffin. We use methyl methacrylate. This is a liquid plastic which polymerizes to form a tissue block with the same hardness as bone. We use a heavy-duty microtome and a tungsten-carbide tipped knife to cut these blocks. We employ several special stains, including an aluminum stain to detect aluminum deposits.

Our turn-around time from receipt of the biopsy to final report is three weeks. Our full biopsy reports include static and kinetic data, interpretation of the data, and computer-generated color images of the biopsy. Glass slides of the stained biopsy are available upon request. We will call the clinician to discuss the results.

Our computer system is the semi-automated Osteomeasure® computer system from Osteometrics, Inc.. This system is specifically designed for bone histomorphometry. We use data and nomenclature standardized by the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research. All data is compared with published age- and sex-matched normals.


  • Assistance with tetracycline labeling schedules
  • Bone biopsy procedure information
  • Referrals to surgeons and specialists trained in transiliac bone biopsies
  • Consults on Metabolic Bone Disease patients