Sep 18

What Is Involved in a Bone Density Scan?

Understanding the details of your bone health can help you prevent or mitigate the effects of bone diseases such as osteoporosis, especially if you’re over the age of 50. A bone density scan offers insight into bone metabolism, but the scan can also reveal other abnormalities such as cancer that has spread to the bones from other parts of the body.

A bone density scan is highly recommended for people who have suffered from bone fractures at or over the age of 50. Men and women at or over the age of 70, when the risk of osteoporosis is most likely, are also recommended for the scan even if there is no history of bone fractures or bone weakness.

That said, here’s what you can expect during a bone density scan.

Preparation and Execution of a Bone Density Scan

Patients undergo a whole-body bone density scan to detect abnormal bone growths, tumors, infections, and diseases. Outside of regular hydration, there is no specific preparation necessary prior to the scan.

A CT exam takes around 5 minutes. During the exam, both the spine and hip are scanned for low bone mass (osteopenia) or osteoporosis. A low-dose CT scan is used, the amount of radiation required is comparable to a mammogram. The average bone density is calculated and then compared to age and sex-matched control data. Computed Tomography is a fast, non-invasive exam that is widely used and one of three methods cited by the National Osteoporosis Foundation as safe and effective for the evaluation of Bone Mineral Density. CT is likely to detect low bone mass in the spine early because CT measures the interior bone (which is affected earlier and to a greater degree) separately from the denser walls of the bone – including for patients with scoliosis. In addition, CT can avoid the artificially high BMD measurements due to obesity, disc space narrowing, spinal degenerative diseases, aortic calcification and osteophytes (in patients with arthritis).

Typically, results should be available to the patient within a 24-hour timeframe.

Schedule Your Test Today

Advanced Body Scan of Tulsa offers bone density scans for those who wish to take it, and is especially recommended for the demographic mentioned in this blog. To schedule or ask about a scan, visit our website or call us at 918.879.6161.

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