‘Bone Mineral Density Testing’ (also known as ‘Bone Densitometry’) is a special type of x-ray measuring the density of your bones. It works by comparing your amount of ‘bone loss’ (i.e. the amount old bone is broken down faster than new bone is made) compared to people of the same age, sex and ethnicity. With these measurements, you’re able to ascertain your risk of bone fractures and to develop a treatment / prevention therapy plan.
Although no specific preparation is required, it’s helpful to wear loose comfortable clothing (without zippers, buttons, jewellery or metallic accessories) and to arrive 10-15 minutes before your appointment to complete paperwork. It’s important that you bring your referral form and that you notify the Lakes Radiology team of any allergies, existing medications and if you are/maybe pregnant. If you’ve had previous spinal or hip surgery, it’s best to tell the imaging technologist, as they may decide to avoid that area when conducting the scan. You may also have to wait at least a week from other radiological procedures or investigations.
- A radiographer / technician will call your name and escort you through to the examination room
- You will be provided with information about your procedure and able to ask questions
- Your height and weight are measured (for future comparisons / indication of bone density loss)
- Lying on the scanning table – a cushioned box is placed under your knees (for spine scans) and a frame between your feet (for hip scans)
- A radiologist or bone densitometry specialist will interpret the scan and provide a written report to your referring doctor.
There are no adverse effects of a BMD Scan. Like general x-rays there is a small amount of radiation exposure, with little evidence of adverse health effects.