Diagnosing Osteoporosis: Bone Densitometry (Bone Mineral Test)
Bone density is measured to assess the risk of developing osteoporosis. It is measured by DXA. DXA gives accurate results. Bone Mineral Density is calculated and compared to normal values to assess the risk factors.
What is bone densitometry
Bone densitometry, using an advanced
technology called DXA (Dual-energy X-ray Absorption), is a procedure that
accurately and painlessly measures bone density and the mineral content
of bone. This helps in determining a woman's risk of developing osteoporosis.
How does the bone densitometry
Most common examination sites are
the fracture-prone hip, spine and sometimes the forearm. Evaluation
also includes measurement of height and weight, a thorough and risk assessment. Bone Mineral Density (BMD) is calculated and compared
to normal BMD values, matched for age and sex to confirm or rule out osteoporosis.
A low BMD by DXA may predict the likelihood of developing osteoporosis
and can help determine a treatment plan.
How is it performed
During a comprehensive bone evaluation
with DXA, the patient lies comfortably still on a padded table while the
DXA unit scans one or more areas, usually the fracture-prone spine or the
hip. Unlike typical x-ray machines, radiation exposure during bone
densitometry is extremely low - less than the radiation exposure during
a coast-to-coast airline flight. The entire process takes only minutes
to complete, depending on the number of sites scanned. It involves
no injections or invasive procedures, and the patient remains fully clothed.
Is any special preparation
required before taking the test
Unless instructed otherwise by the clinician,
eat normally on the day of the exam; but avoid taking any calcium supplements
for at least 24 hours prior to the appointment.
Wear loose, comfortable clothing.
Sweat suits and other casual attire without zippers, buttons, grommets
or any other metal are preferred.
You should not have had a barium study,
radioisotope injection, oral or intravenous contrast material from a CT
scan or MRI within seven days prior to your DXA test.
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