Osteoporosis is a condition that often affects women after menopause but may also be found in men and rarely in children. Osteoporosis involves a gradual loss of bone, as well as structural changes, causing the bones to become thinner, more fragile and more likely to break. Bone density scanning is an established standard for measuring bone mineral density (BMD). Bone density scanning is effective in tracking the treatment for osteoporosis and other conditions that cause bone loss.
Bone density scanning is performed on the lumbar spine and the hip.
Bone density scanning assesses the individual’s risk for developing fractures. The risk of fracture is affected by age, body weight, history of prior fracture, family history of osteoporotic fractures and lifestyle issues.
How to prepare for the exam
- No special preparation needed. You should not take calcium supplements for at least 24 hours before your exam.
- You should bring any prior related studies to the imaging center at the time of your appointment for comparison purposes.
- Leave your valuables at home during your examination.
- Please bring your insurance cards, identification, and your prescription, authorization, and/or referral.
- You should wear loose, comfortable clothing, avoiding garments that have zippers, belts or buttons made of metal. You may be asked to remove some of your clothes and to wear a gown during the exam.
- Women should always inform the technologist if there is any possibility that they are pregnant.
What should I expect during the exam?
Bone density scan is a painless procedure. The patient will have to lie on the scanning table and follow instructions from the technologist. Metal objects including any jewelry or cloth with metal parts, hair clips or underwire bras must be removed.
What should I expect after the exam?
- The examinations are interpreted by board-certified radiologists.
- The results will be sent to the referring physician as soon as they are interpreted. The patient should contact the referring physician to discuss the results and ask for further recommendations.