Bone Densitometry in Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming (TGNC) Individuals: 2019 ISCD Official Position

Harold N. Rosen, Ole Petter R. Hamnvik, Unnop Jaisamrarn, Alan O. Malabanan, Joshua D. Safer, Vin Tangpricha, Lalita Wattanachanya, Swan S. Yeap

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


The indications for initial and follow-up bone mineral density (BMD) in transgender and gender nonconforming (TGNC) individuals are poorly defined, and the choice of which gender database to use to calculate Z-scores is unclear. Herein, the findings of the Task Force are presented after a detailed review of the literature. As long as a TGNC individual is on standard gender-affirming hormone treatment, BMD should remain stable to increasing, so there is no indication to monitor for bone loss or osteoporosis strictly on the basis of TGNC status. TGNC individuals who experience substantial periods of hypogonadism (>1 yr) might experience bone loss or failure of bone accrual during that time, and should be considered for baseline measurement of BMD. To the extent that this hypogonadism continues over time, follow-up measurements can be appropriate. TGNC individuals who have adequate levels of endogenous or exogenous sex steroids can, of course, suffer from other illnesses that can cause osteoporosis and bone loss, such as hyperparathyroidism and steroid use; they should have measurement of BMD as would be done in the cisgender population. There are no data that TGNC individuals have a fracture risk different from that of cisgender individuals, nor any data to suggest that BMD predicts their fracture risk less well than in the cisgender population. The Z-score in transgender individuals should be calculated using the reference data (mean and standard deviation) of the gender conforming with the individual's gender identity. In gender nonconforming individuals, the reference data for the sex recorded at birth should be used. If the referring provider or the individual requests, a set of “male” and “female” Z-scores can be provided, calculating the Z-score against male and female reference data, respectively.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)544-553
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Clinical Densitometry
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Bone mineral density
  • T-score
  • Z-score
  • cisgender
  • hormones
  • transgender


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