PURPOSE OF REVIEW: To review current evidence regarding the vertebral fracture prevalence, the accuracy of vertebral fracture identification on current imaging technologies, and the potential impact of vertebral fracture identification on fracture risk. RECENT FINDINGS: Important new studies have clarified the features of prevalent vertebral fracture that most strongly predict incident fractures. Age- and sex-stratified estimates of vertebral fracture prevalence on densitometric lateral spine images in the US population are now available. The accuracy of densitometric vertebral fracture assessment, how computed tomography scans and other spinal images obtained for indications other than vertebral fracture assessment can be leveraged to detect prevalent vertebral fractures, and the potential impact of vertebral fracture assessment on patient and provider fracture risk management behavior have been clarified. Substantial progress has been made regarding screening strategies using lateral spine imaging to detect prevalent vertebral fracture in the older population. Further research regarding implementation of these strategies in clinical practice and their impact on clinical outcomes is needed.