Bone Densitometry – Bone Loss (Osteoporosis) Treatment
Bone density scanning is a process that allows doctors to measure bone loss before it becomes problematic. It is often used to diagnose osteoporosis, which is a condition in which loss of calcium and structural changes in the bones can cause the bones to become thin and fragile. Your test results may be able to assess your risk of fractures based on the amount of bone loss.
Why should I get a bone scan?
Bone densitometry, also called dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DEXA), is an advanced x-ray technology that uses a low dose of radiation to measure bone density. It is a non-invasive procedure and is the best way for doctors to diagnose osteoporosis at its earliest stages. Osteoporosis is more common in women than men, and is more commonly found in post-menopausal women, especially those not taking estrogen.
The DEXA test is the most accurate way to identify both osteoporosis and your risk of bone fracture. It is a simple procedure with no side effects, and it can be completed in 30 minutes or less in most cases.
What to expect
The DEXA is comprised of a central device and a peripheral device. The central device measures bone density in the hip and spine, while the peripheral device measure the finger, hand, and foot. Your doctor may also recommend a lateral vertebral assessment to screen for potential fractures in the vertebrae.
You will also be asked to complete a questionnaire regarding your lifestyle, medications and family history. This information combined with your test results will enable your doctor to determine the best course of action to minimize your risk of fracture.
Your tests are always conducted by our highly trained technicians and analyzed by a skilled radiologist. Your results will give you scores comparing your bone density to a young adult of the same gender and person in your age group.
DEXA cannot predict who will suffer from a fracture, but these tests are useful in assessing risk as well as tracking the effects of treatment of osteoporosis.
Doctors treating osteoporosis today frequently will prescribe biophosphonates, drugs which slow down the rate at which your body breaks down bone. Hormone replacement therapy is still an option, but is not recommended as frequently today because of studies that have shown a possible increase in the risk of heart attack, stroke and breast cancer. Early diagnosis allows your doctor to determine the best options for treating your condition and tracking your treatment.