Hip structural analysis (HSA) is a technique for extracting strength-related structural dimensions of bone cross-sections from two-dimensional hip scan images acquired by dual energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) scanners. Heretofore the precision of the method has not been thoroughly tested in the clinical setting. Using paired scans from two large clinical trials involving a range of different DXA machines, this study reports the first precision analysis of HSA variables, in comparison with that of conventional bone mineral density (BMD) on the same scans. A key HSA variable, section modulus (Z), biomechanically indicative of bone strength during bending, had a short-term precision percentage coefficient of variation (CV%) in the femoral neck of 3.4-10.1%, depending on the manufacturer or model of the DXA equipment. Cross-sectional area (CSA), a determinant of bone strength during axial loading and closely aligned with conventional DXA bone mineral content, had a range of CV% from 2.8% to 7.9%. Poorer precision was associated with inadequate inclusion of the femoral shaft or femoral head in the DXA-scanned hip region. Precision of HSA-derived BMD varied between 2.4% and 6.4%. Precision of DXA manufacturer-derived BNID varied between 1.9% and 3.4%, arising from the larger analysis region of interest (ROI). The precision of HSA variables was not generally dependent on magnitude, subject height, weight, or conventional femoral neck densitometric variables. The generally poorer precision of key HSA variables in comparison with conventional DXA-derived BNID highlights the critical roles played by correct limb repositioning and choice of an adequate and appropriately positioned ROI. (C) 2005 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.