Bone densitometry is a radiology procedure which determines bone mineral density or bone mass. Bone mineral measurements are very highly correlated with bone strength and have been shown to predict the potential for bone fractures. A bone density test delivers approximately one-quarter to one-tenth the radiation that occurs during an ordinary chest X-ray. It is a simple, painless, and non-invasive procedure which takes approximately 15 minutes to perform.
Your bone densitometry exam may be the simplest medical examination you will have over the course of your life. Basically, you just lie back, and let the bone densitometer do the work.
Most Common Risk Factors for Bone Mineral Loss
- Early Menopause (before age 45)
- Surgical Menopause
- Previous Fracture
- Family History of Osteoporosis
- Certain Medications (including steroids and thyroid hormones)
- Caucasian/Asian Descent
- Thin or Small Build
- Alcohol Abuse
- Inactive Lifestyle
- Inadequate Calcium Intake
During the Exam
You will be asked to wear a comfortable two-piece outfit, like a sweatsuit, for your test. You must not wear any metal buttons, buckles, or zippers, since these materials may interfere with your pictures. You will be asked to lie on your back, on the exam table. An overhead arm will travel above your body, while taking readings. It is very important that you lie still while the images are being taken, so that the images are clear.
After the Exam
Your bone density scan will generate a computerized printout, with explanation, which will be provided to your physician. This information is reviewed by a Radiologist, who can accurately identify areas of concern. A Bone Density test is useful in helping your physician diagnose osteoporosis, particularly in the early stages, before broken bones occur. When the tests are repeated over time, they can also help track your rate of bone loss.
If you have further questions regarding osteoporosis or bone density, feel free to contact our facility or check with your physician.
Preparing for your Bone Densitometry Test
There is no preparation required before this test. There are no injections, and you will experience minimal radiation exposure. You may wear a two-piece outfit or one of our gowns during the procedure.
The exam can take from 10 to 20 minutes to complete. This exam is often used to diagnose osteoporosis.
Let the radiologist or technologist know if you are, or suspect you might be pregnant.