A Bone Mineral Density (BMD) test is also referred to as bone densitometry or a DEXA scan. It is important diagnostic tool that not only measures the amount of calcium in certain bones but also can be used to estimate the risk of fracture. It is used to assist in diagnosing osteoporosis.
What is Osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis is a condition of low bone density that reduces bone strength and may result in fractures, physical deformity and/or pain. Osteoporosis is a complex, multi-factorial disease that may progress silently over years. Early detection and intervention are crucial.
At UPMC Sports Surgery Clinic, our Dual Energy X-Ray Absorptiometry (DEXA) examinations estimate the amount of bone mineral content in specific areas of the body. DEXA examinations measure the amount of X-rays that are absorbed by the bones in your body. Two x-ray energies allow the radiologist to tell the difference between bone and soft tissue, giving a very accurate estimation of bone density. Often confused with a nuclear medicine bone scan, a bone density scan is faster and does not require a radionuclide injection. Bone density tests (DEXA) can also be used to determine if particular medications are improving bone density strength over time.
It is important that you relax; DEXA scans are comfortable and pain-free.
Please follow these instructions in preparation for your examination:
If you have insurance, please ensure that you bring your policy number. You will need this when you register
You can eat and drink as normal before the scan.
Avoid calcium supplements for 24 hours prior to your appointment. Apart from this continue to take all your prescribed medication as normal and bring your tablets or a list of your medication with you.
Avoid wearing clothing with metal. Tracksuits and casual attire without zippers can avoid the necessity to wear a hospital gown.
You will be positioned on the scanning table where you will be able to breathe normally throughout the procedure. A scanner arm will pass over the area of interest, for example, your lower spine and hips. You will hear some mechanical noise but this is normal.
Scan time is very short but you will be asked to lie still for up to 4 minutes at a time.
The whole examination should take about 20 minutes
The results of the scan will be evaluated and reported on by a specialist Radiologist.
It takes some time for the doctor to make a thorough report so please allow at least 2-3 days for the results.
The report will be sent to your Referrer.
If you have any questions about your examination or there is something you think we should be aware of prior to your procedure, please contact the Radiology Department
Tel: 015262060
Fax: 015262061