What is a bone density test?

Bone Densitometry is a radiological procedure done to detect low bone mass. It is the gold standard for diagnosing osteoporosis or low bone density. The bone densitometry or DXA scan allows for a diagnosis of osteoporosis or osteopenia in patients prior to a fracture. It can also calculate a future risk of fracture. It is used to follow patients that are taking treatments for osteoporosis or low bone mass. Fractures can be prevented with proper treatment for osteoporosis.

The term osteoporosis is defined as a skeletal disorder characterized by low bone mass and deterioration of bone tissue with an increase in bone fragility and susceptibility to fracture.

We offer DXA scans to our patients because we feel it is an important part of giving out patients the best care possible.

How is the DXA test done?

The patient is asked to lay face up on a padded x-ray table for approximately 10-20 minutes.

How should you be dressed for a DXA scan?

The patient should be comfortably dressed, with clothing that does not have metallic ornamentation. We do not ask that any clothing be removed, but you will be asked to remove any metal objects and jewelry that is around your waist.

What areas of the body are scanned?

A scanner arm moves over the patient’s body but does not touch the patient or cause any pain. A low dose of radiation is then used to measure the bone density in the lower spine, hip and possibly the arm. This is known as a T-score. A Z-score is also obtained.

What is a T-score or Z-score?

A T-score is when the bone mass or density is then calculated and compared to the peak bone mass of a controlled population at age 30. A normal T-score is -1 and above. A low bone mass is between -1 and -2.5. Osteoporosis is defined as a T-score of -2.5 or lower. A Z-score is a calculation comparing the bone mass of a similar patient at a similar age.

Who needs a DXA scan?

Bone density tests are begun at age 50 or within the first two to three years after becoming menopausal.

Are there other reasons to have a DXA scan besides age?

Sometimes a patient is asked to have a scan at a much earlier age due to medications they are taking or because of family history. Certain medications such as Depo Provera, Femara, Arimidex anti-convulsant medications, steroids, or antacids can cause bone loss.

When should a DXA not be done?

A patient should not have a DXA if they have had any x-ray dye in their system within the last 48 hours. Pregnant women should not have a DXA scan.

Are there any cautions about medication prior to a DXA?

We ask that a patient stop taking calcium at least 2 days before the DXA is performed.

Are the Techs at All Women certified and is the facility licensed to do DXAs?

All Women has been certified and licensed by the State of Kentucky to perform and evaluate the DXA scans. The technicians and physicians have to be re-licensed every two years to maintain our license.