Bone density scan tests are a quick and painless procedures.  A bone density scan, also referred to as a dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DXA) or bone densitometry, is a specialized x-ray procedure designed to measure bone loss.  DXA is today's preferred modality for measuring bone mineral density (BMD).  A bone density scan is a noninvasive procedure that provides radiologists images of the bone to help physicians diagnose and treat medical symptoms.

Bone densitometry is used most often to diagnose osteoporosis, a condition that can affect men, but most often strikes women after menopause.  Osteoporosis is the result a gradual loss of calcium and consequent structural deterioration as the bones become thinner, fragile and more subject to fracture.

A bone density scan is highly recommended for:

  • Women with a maternal history of hip fracture or smoking.
  • Post-menopausal women who are not taking estrogen.
  • Thin, post-menopausal women less than 125 pounds.
  • Tall, post-menopausal women (over 5 ft. 7 in.)
  • Men with clinical symptoms associated with bone loss.
  • Anyone with type 1 (juvenile or insulin-dependent) diabetes, kidney disease, liver disease or anyone with a family history of osteoporosis.
  • Anyone on medications known to cause bone loss, including corticosteroids like Prednisone, a variety of anti-seizure medications such as Dilantin and various barbiturates, and strong dose thyroid replacement drugs.
  • Anyone having had x-ray evidence of a vertebral fracture or other symptoms of osteoporosis.
  • Anyone with a thyroid condition including hyperthyroidism or having a parathyroid condition, such as hyperparathyroidism.
  • Anyone with an elevated bone turnover indicated by excessive collagen in urine tests.
  • Anyone having a history of a fracture resulting from only mild trauma.

During a bone density procedure, a scanner sends a thin, low-dose x-ray beam through the bones being examined. The results of the test show images of the density of the bone. The greater the density, the healthier the bone.  If the image of the bone looks spongy and full of holes, this is usually an indication of disease, such as Osteoporosis.

The entire procedure is painless and takes only a few minutes.  The results of the scan are read by one of our board certified radiology specialists, who will analyze the images and send a detailed written report to your physician, who will discuss the results with you.

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