Dual-photon absorptiometry characterized bone loss in males aged <40 years after complete traumatic paraplegic and quadriplegic spinal cord injury. Total bone mass of various regions and bone mineral density (BMD) of the knee were measured in 55 subjects. Three different populations were partitioned into four groups: 10 controls (healthy, age matched); 25 acutely injured (114 days after injury), with 12 reexamined 16 months after injury; and 20 chronic (>5 years after injury). Significant differences (p < 0.0001) in bone mass mineral between groups at the arms, pelvis, legs, distal femur, and proximal tibia were found, with no differences for the head or trunk. Post hoc analyses indicated no differences between the acutely injured at 16 months and the chronically injured. Paraplegic and quadriplegic subjects were significantly different only at the arms and trunk, but were highly similar at the pelvis and below. In the acutely injured, a slight but statistically insignificant rebound was noted above the pelvis. Regression techniques demonstrated early, rapid, linear (p < 0.0001) decline of bone below the pelvis. Bone mineral loss occurs throughout the entire skeleton, except the skull. Most bone loss occurs rapidly and below the pelvis. Homeostasis is reached by 16 months at two thirds of original bone mass, near fracture threshold.