Test Catalog

Test ID: BHISC    
Bone Histomorphometry, Gross Microscopic Exam

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

Undetermined metabolic bone disease in wet tissue specimens


Renal osteodystrophy






Paget disease


Assessing effects of therapy


Identification of some disorders of the hematopoietic system


Aluminum toxicity


Presence of iron in the bone

Testing Algorithm Delineates situations when tests are added to the initial order. This includes reflex and additional tests.

Hematoxylin and eosin-stained slides are sent to pathology for review. Iron staining or aluminum staining may be performed at an additional charge.

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.

The laboratory will provide a quantitative and an interpretive report.

Interpretation Provides information to assist in interpretation of the test results

Computer-generated histomorphometric values are given for adequate specimens.


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


An interpretive report will be provided.

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

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


Biopsy site of preference is iliac crest.


Dairy products should not be ingested at the same time as the tetracycline because they interfere with tetracycline uptake.

Clinical Reference Recommendations for in-depth reading of a clinical nature

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

Special Instructions Library of PDFs including pertinent information and forms related to the test