VCU Program for Osteoporosis and Bone Health

Osteogenesis Imperfecta

Osteogenesis Imperfecta (OI) is a genetic disorder characterized by bones that break easily, often from little or no apparent cause. There are at least four recognized forms of the disorder, representing a range of severities. For example, a person may have just a few or as many as several hundred fractures in a lifetime.

Risk Factors

  • Loose joints and muscle weakness
  • Sclera (whites of the eyes) usually have a blue, purple, or gray tint
  • Triangular face
  • Tendency toward spinal curvature
  • Bone deformity absent or minimal
  • Brittle teeth possible
  • Hearing loss possible, often beginning in early 20s or 30s
  • Collagen structure is normal, but the amount is less than normal
  • Small stature with underdeveloped lungs
  • Collagen improperly formed
  • Bones fracture easily
  • Short stature
  • Barrel-shaped rib cage
  • Bone has a “mesh-like” appearance when viewed under the microscope

Spine Chart


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Last Updated on September 13, 2005

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