Bone Mineral Densitometry

Bone Mineral Density (BMD) is a test which detects low bone density. The most common bone density test is called dual energy x-ray absorptiometry (DEXA).

Dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DEXA) is an imaging technology that uses a very low amount of x-ray energy to detect the presence of osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is a disease that gradually weakens bones, leading to bone fragility and an increased chance of fractures to the spine, hips and wrists. This weakening may be due to aging or caused by other risk factors that combine with age. Often called the "silent disease," osteoporosis rarely shows symptoms until excessive bone mass has been lost. The most visible symptoms may include loss of height along with curvature of the upper back. DEXA scanning can identify low bone density in patients at an early stage, enabling doctors to prescribe appropriate treatment before the condition worsens. Images of the lower spine and hips are most often used in checking for osteoporosis.

Bone Mineral Densitometry Preparation These instructions are IMPORTANT. Please follow them.

  • On the day of examination DO NOT take calcium supplements or iron tablets until after the examination is completed. These supplements may be found in multi-vitamins and antacids. Please be certain to read the labels when taking all medications within 24 hours prior to the examination. Dairy products are acceptable.

  • You should not have certain radiologic studies within the 7 days before the exam, i.e., barium studies, studies involving IV or oral contrast, or Nuclear Medicine studies. That waiting period is important to prevent any residual barium from interfering with your DEXA exam.

  • It is preferable to wear clothing without zippers or fasteners (e.g. jogging suit or leggings).

  • Please let us know before your exam begins if you may be pregnant.