My Bone Densitometry Test
If you need a bone density scan in Buffalo or throughout Western New York, the medical professionals at Southtowns Radiology can help. Like other organs in the body, bones are constantly changing. Throughout childhood and young adulthood, bones grow in strength and in size. Around the age of 30, bones reach their peak strength and then naturally become weaker with age. Osteoporosis is a condition where bones become weak to the point of breaking. This weakening may be due to aging, or caused by other factors that combine with age. Symptoms of osteoporosis do not occur until a lot of bone strength is lost. The most visible symptoms may include loss of height, along with curvature of the upper back. Osteoporosis also can result in a crippling and painful fracture, occurring most often in the hip, back, or wrist.
Important risk factors for osteoporosis include:
- advanced age
- a history of bone fracture
- a small thin frame
- a family history of osteoporosis
- removal of the ovaries
- early menopause
- a low calcium diet
- lack of exercise
- eating disorders
- certain medicines
(such as steroids
- alcohol and
What can I expect during my bone densitometry test?
The bone densitometer is like a large examination table. It is padded and comfortable. Your name, age, height, weight and ethnicity will be entered into the computer before your test. This information is used to compare your results to a normal reference group. During the bone density test procedure, you will be asked to lie on your back, remaining in your normal clothing in most cases. Belt buckles, metal or thick plastic buttons and metal jewelry will need to be removed from the region being examined. The operator will position your arms and legs for the test, which is painless and typically takes 10 minutes. You just need to lie still and breathe normally.
How does the densitometer work?
A bone densitometer measures bone mineral density (BMD). The amount of bone mineral relates directly to bone density. During the bone density scan procedure, the bone denstiometer uses small amounts of x-ray to measure BMD and to produce images of the spine, hip, or even the whole body. The technical term for the method is “dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry”, or DXA. The spine and hip are measured because that is where most osteoporotic fractures occur.
What information will the test give my doctor?
A bone densitometry test or a bone density scan is an aid to doctors in the diagnosis of osteoporosis. The test compares your bone to that of a “young adult” at peak bone strength (T-score). The World Health Organization (WHO) has developed categories that define the amount of bone loss:
Your T-score combined with other risk factors, will enable your doctor to estimate what your risk of a hip fracture or other major osteoporosis-related fracture will be in the next 10 years. This information will help your doctor determine what course of action should be taken. The bone densitometry test is also useful in following bone changes. Your doctor may suggest follow-up tests to detect change over time.
Available at the following locations:
- Hamburg 3040 Amsdell Road, Hamburg, NY 14075 • Phone: 716-649-9000 Directions
- Orchard Park 3050 Orchard Park Road, West Seneca, NY 14224 • Phone: 716-558-5400 Directions
Additional Osteoporosis Resources
The National Osteoporosis Foundation (NOF) is one of the leading sources of information about osteoporosis and bone measurements.
Contact the NOF:
National Osteoporosis Foundation
1150 17th St. N.W., Suite 500
Washington, D.C. 20036-4603