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Bone Density Information

Bone Density Information

What is bone density scanning?

Bone density scans assist in the early detection of osteoporosis.
We measure your bone density to evaluate your susceptibility to fractures. The lower your level of bone density, the higher the risk of a fracture.

Bone density is measured with state-of-the-art X-ray equipment using the DEXA (Dual Energy X-ray Absorptiometry) method. The examination is carried out by specially trained X-ray technicians and the results are analysed by specialist radiologists. DEXA scanning is the ultimate method of testing for osteoporosis, as opposed to some scans which can emit far larger, unnecessary amounts of radiation.

Bone density scans are simple, non-invasive and pain-free.

Is any preparation necessary?

No    –  no preparation is required for this examination.
However, if you have undergone an examination that involved the use of a contrast material, such as a barium enema or a CT scan, you must wait for 10 days before undergoing a bone density scan.

What will happen at my appointment?

  • Please bring the results and charts of any previous bone density scans you have undergone.
  • Please do not wear clothing that contains metal eg: pins or zips.
  • If you are to undergo a bone density scan of your forearm, you will need to remove any bracelets.
  • If there are any metal implants in your body, you will need to inform the x-ray technician.

The scanning procedure:
After checking in at the reception of our health clinic, you will be asked to lie down on your back and the area to be examined will be placed under the scanner, for example the spinal cord, the hip
and/or the forearm.

How will I understand the results and what I may need to do?

Your scan results will be sent by post to your home, your GP or consultant within two days of the examination. You will need to discuss the results of your scan with your GP.

The DEXA scan evaluates bone mineral density (BMD). The results predict the likelihood of fracture. BMD is generally measured in the spine and hip. The DEXA scan calculates bone density based on the amount of radiation absorbed by the bone. It compares your personal information obtained during the examination (bone density, age, height and weight) with the average for the general population. The severity of the disease and the need for treatment are determined accordingly.

The scan results are kept in your medical notes so that they can be compared with future DEXA scans.

What will the bone density measurements indicate?

The DEXA method is used to examine the bone density (calcium content) of the spine, the hip joint and the root of the palm. The scan can identify bone loss even in the very early stages of osteoporosis. It calculates the likelihood of developing a fracture and the rate at which calcium is being lost.