Because this exam is so simple, you will not need to prepare ahead of time. For your comfort and convenience, wearing clothing without zippers or snaps in the area of the spine and hips (such as sweat clothes) will allow you to avoid changing into a gown.
The entire exam will take from 10-20 minutes. You will first be asked to fill out a form with questions about your personal risk factors for bone density loss. You will be asked to change into a gown if necessary and then to recline on a padded table. A camera will be moved above you and focused x-ray images will be taken of the hip and lower spine where fractures are most likely to occur. The amount of x-ray dose is very small, equal to about 1/10 of that received from a chest x-ray.
After the Exam
There are no side effects to the exam. You may return to work or normal activity immediately. Your images will be reviewed and interpreted by one of our staff radiologists. A profile will be created that shows the amount of bone mineral present and compares your bone density to national measurement standards. Your potential risk is expressed in two measurements or scores. The first is a T score that compares your bone mass with that of a healthy young adult. Any score above -1 is considered normal. A score between -1 and -2.5 indicates low bone mass or osteopenia, the precursor to osteoporosis. A score below -2.5 is defined as osteoporosis.
The second measurement is a Z score. This number compares your bone mass with other people in your age group. If this score is unusually high or low, your physician may recommend additional medical tests.
Any previous bone mineral density studies are compared against your new exam and the results are sent directly to your physician. Our goal is to provide your physician with a report within 24 hours of the examination.
The actual results of your exam will be given to you by your doctor who will compare your test results against his or her own clinical findings to provide you with a clear picture of your overall health.Return to top