Bone density, a determining factor in osteoporosis and osteopenia, can be tested before a bone is ever broken. These procedures are commonly done after menopause, which can weaken bones. A bone density test, also called a DEXA scan, uses X-ray to determine the amount of calcium and other minerals in your bone. This helps to determine your risk of fracture. The areas most often examined are the hips, spine and forearm. Bone density tests can also be used with your osteoporosis treatment in order to monitor your condition and improvement.

Your bone density measurement (BMD) is compared with adult average normal ranges for your sex and race at their peak BMD. This information helps your doctor determine if you need to take certain steps to protect or revitalize your bone health.

Bone density tests are quick and painless. They do not require any special preparation on your behalf. If you have had any recent contrast material in your system due to medical testing such as MRI, CT scan or nuclear medicine, it is important to tell your doctor as it may effect the results of your test.

During the procedure, you will be required to lie down on an exam table while a mechanical arm scans your body.

A smaller, portable machine called a peripheral device can measure density in bones such as your fingers, toes and heel. You can find these in some pharmacies which provide them for use much like they do blood pressure machines. These portable machines are not as accurate, so your physician may request a follow-up with a more thorough scan if you had your results determined by a peripheral device.

Bone density tests are sometimes not covered by insurance until your condition deems it necessary. Because we realize the importance of procedures like this, we will work with you to check your personal coverage and also help you to request prior authorization.

  • Please arrive 15 minutes prior to your scheduled appointment time
  • Please wear loose fitting clothing free of belts zippers, and buttons
  • If you take a calcium pill, refrain from taking the morning of your exam
  • No other prep is needed