Bone Densitometry

What is Bone Densitometry

Bone densitometry is an imaging test that uses a special X-ray to measure the amount of calcium and other minerals in your bones (bone density).

This test is also known as a bone mineral density test or dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA). The test can measure bone density at your hip and your spine. It is similar to having a regular X-ray.

You may have this test to:

  • Diagnose a condition that causes weak or thin bones (osteoporosis).
  • Predict your risk of a broken bone (fracture).
  • Determine how well osteoporosis treatment is working.

Tell a health care provider about:

  • Any allergies you have.
  • All medicines you are taking, including vitamins, herbs, eye drops, creams, and over-the-counter medicines.
  • Any problems you or family members have had with anesthetic medicines.
  • Any blood disorders you have.
  • Any surgeries you have had.
  • Any medical conditions you have.
  • Possibility of pregnancy.
  • Any other medical test you had within the previous 14 days that used contrast material.

What are the risks?

Generally, this is a safe procedure. However, problems can occur and may include the following:

  • This test exposes you to a very small amount of radiation.
  • The risks of radiation exposure may be greater to unborn children.

What happens before the procedure?

  • Do nottake any calcium supplements for 24 hours before having the test. You can otherwise eat and drink what you usually do.
  • Take off all metal jewelry, eyeglasses, dental appliances, and any other metal objects.

What happens during the procedure?

  • You may lie on an exam table. There will be an X-ray generator below you and an imaging device above you.
  • Other devices, such as boxes or braces, may be used to position your body properly for the scan.
  • You will need to lie still while the machine slowly scans your body.
  • The images will show up on a computer monitor.

What happens after the procedure?

You may need more testing at a later time.

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