Osteoporosis is the loss of bone mineral density (BMD). Knowing your BMD measurement now is the first step toward preventing problems often associated with this common disease.
DEXA bone densitometry tests are easy and painless. They also are an important part of healthcare programs designed to prevent bone fractures associated with osteoporosis.
Knowing more about the testing process – how it works and what you should do beforehand – helps reduce anxiety and makes you a better-informed patient.
Understanding DEXA Bone Densitometry
A DEXA bone densitometry scan measures your bone mineral density (BMD) or bone mass.
Your physician can use the results of your test to recommend treatment programs designed to slow down or even reverse the degenerative effects of osteoporosis. In this way, bone densitometry measurements are an important part of proactive treatment programs designed to prevent loss of bone mass and avoid debilitating bone fractures caused by osteoporosis.
Measurements of bone density can help with the following:
• Detect osteoporosis before bone fractures occur
• Predict your chances of future bone fractures
• Determine your rate of bone loss
• Monitor the effects of bone replacement therapy
Why DEXA Bone Densitometry?
Bone densitometry tests are performed with a bone densitometer. Although there are several types of bone densitometers, measurements obtained using DEXA (dual energy X-ray absorption) densitometers are clearly regarded as the most accurate. This is because DEXA densitometers precisely measure BMD at the spine and hip, which are the two sites that have the greatest potential for a disabling fracture.
Our DEXA densitometer uses a scanner, computer technology, and an extremely low dose of radiation to generate your BMD measurements. In fact, DEXA bone densitometers use less than one-tenth the amount of radiation of the normal chest X-ray.
Based on the results of your exam, your physician may recommend bone replacement therapy and follow-up bone densitometry or improvements in your bone mass due to bone replacement therapy.
Your Bone Densitometry Test
During the exam, you will lie on a table under a bone density scanner. Your technologist will be seated in the room with you. Once your exam starts, lie still, breathe normally and rest comfortably – the exam is absolutely painless. Depending on the type of exam your physician has requested, your bone densitometry test should take only a few minutes. A total body measurement will take approximately 15-to-20 minutes.