Bone Density Scan
A bone density scan, also known as bone mass measurement, uses x-rays to measure the strength and density of your bones. When the test is repeated at a later date, it can also help determine if you are losing bone mass and density.
Bone density services are available at the Hermel Breast Health Center, Westford Health Center and Emerson Hospital Medical Center in Sudbury.
TO SCHEDULE AN APPOINTMENT
Call 1-978-287-3003 to schedule an appointment for a bone density scan.
TO OBTAIN TEST RESULTS
Requires a signed medical records release and ID.
Just reports: 978-287-3870
Reports & images: 978-287-2925
Preparing for a Bone Density Scan
- On the day of the exam you may eat normally. You should not take calcium supplements for at least 24 hours before your exam.
- You should wear loose, comfortable clothing, avoiding garments that have zippers, belts or buttons made of metal. Objects such as keys, wallets or jewelry that would be in the scanned area should be removed.
- Inform your physician if you recently had a barium examination or have been injected with a contrast material for a computed tomography (CT) scan or radioisotope scan. You may have to wait 10 to 14 days before undergoing a bone density test.
- Women should always inform their physician or x-ray technologist if there is any possibility that they are pregnant. Many imaging tests are not performed during pregnancy so as not to expose the fetus to radiation. If an x-ray is necessary, precautions will be taken to minimize radiation exposure to the baby.
What to Expect During the Procedure
- Bone density tests use x-rays that are painless, noninvasive and safe.
- Imaging with x-rays involves exposing a part of the body, in this case usually the lower spine and hips, to a small dose of ionizing radiation to produce pictures of the inside of the body.
- You may be asked to remove some or all of your clothes and to wear a gown during the exam.
- You may also be asked to remove jewelry, eyeglasses and any metal objects or clothing that might interfere with the x-ray images.
After the Procedure
- After the procedure, your bone density scan is compared with the standards for what is expected for someone your age, gender and size and to the optimal peak bone density of a healthy young adult of the same gender.
- Results from a bone density scan should be discussed with a physician to ensure you understand how the comparisons relate to your health.
- Because bone density scanning involves a non-invasive x-ray, there are no special post-procedure requirements for patients.
About the Bone Density Scan
Bone density scanning, also called dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DXA) or bone densitometry, is an enhanced form of x-ray technology that is used to measure bone loss. DXA is today's established standard for measuring bone mineral density (BMD).
X-rays are the oldest and most frequently used form of medical imaging. DXA is most often performed on the lower spine and hips. In children and some adults, the whole body is sometimes scanned. Peripheral devices that use x-ray or ultrasound are sometimes used to screen for low bone mass.
For additional information visit www.radiologyinfo.org