Bone Densitometry Services

Bone Densitometry Services

Osteoporosis “The Silent Epidemic”

Osteoporosis is a potentially crippling disease characterized by the loss of bone tissue and a susceptibility to fracture. This afflicts an estimated 25 million Americans, 80 percent of whom are women. Annually, this disease accounts for 1.3 million debilitating fractures, mostly of the weight-bearing hip and spine.

Osteoporosis has often been called the “silent disease,” because it doesn’t produce symptoms until a fracture occurs. Approximately 50 percent of women over age 50 are at risk of sustaining an osteoporotic fracture. In fact, a woman’s risk of hip fracture alone equals her combined risk of developing breast, uterine or ovarian cancer. In short, the prevalence of osteoporosis has reached epidemic proportions.

Are You At Risk?

Your chances of developing osteoporosis are greater if you are female and answer “yes” to any of the following questions:

Are you…?

  • Light-skinned
  • Thin or small framed
  • Approaching or past menopause
  • Milk intolerant or have a low calcium intake
  • A cigarette smoker or drink alcohol in excess
  • Taking thyroid medication or steroid-based drugs for asthma, arthritis or cancer

Do you have…?

  • A family history of osteoporosis
  • Chronic intestinal disorders
  • A sedentary lifestyle

The Good News! Osteoporosis is preventable and treatable. Today, doctors are better equipped to detect and treat bone loss in its earliest stages, so as to prevent the disease or lessen its impact. Also, several drug therapies, now on the market, have been shown to be clinically effective in slowing down or reversing the bone-loss process.

Just as no physician would prescribe a medication for hypertension without first taking the patient’s blood pressure, the diagnosis and treatment of osteoporosis should begin with an objective, quantifiable measurement of the patient’s bone mass or bone density.

Bone densitometry, using an advanced technology called DXA (short for Dual-energy X-ray Absorpitometry), safely, accurately and painlessly measures bone density and the mineral content of bone. During a comprehensive bone evaluation with DXA, the patient lies comfortably still on a padded table while the DXA unit scans one or more areas, usually the fracture-prone spine or the hip.

Unlike typical X-rays machines, radiation exposure during bone densitometry is extremely low—less than the radiation exposure during a coast-to-coast airline flight. The entire process takes only minutes to complete, depending on the number of sites scanned. It involves no injections or invasive procedures, and patients remain fully clothed.

Bone Densitometry Using DXA

  • Simple, proven x-ray method
  • Safe, low radiation
  • Fast and comfortable, only takes minutes
  • Easy…patient remains clothed
  • Painless…non-invasive, no injections

Preparing for Bone Densitometry Scanning

Unless instructed otherwise by one of our clinicians, eat normally on the day of the exam, but avoid taking calcium supplements for at least 24 hours prior to your appointment.

Wear lose, comfortable clothing. Sweat suits and other casual attire without zippers, buttons, grommets or any metal are preferred.

You should not have had a barium study, radioisotope injection, oral or intravenous contrast material from a CT scan or MRI within seven days prior to your DXA test.

How DXA Bone Densitometry Works

The Equipment – DXA is a fast, convenient and precise way to measure bone density to determine a woman’s risk of developing osteoporosis.

Bone Density Scan – Most common examination sites are the fracture-prone hip, spine and sometimes the forearm. The evaluation also includes measurement of height and weight, a thorough history, and risk assessment.