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Osteoporosis Health Center

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Bone Densitometry

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What Is Bone Densitometry?

Bone densitometry is a test like an X-ray that quickly and accurately measures the density of bone. It is used primarily to detect osteopenia or osteoporosis, diseases in which the bone's mineral and density are low and the risk of fractures is increased.

Before a Bone Densitometry Scan

If you think you may be pregnant, notify your doctor before getting a bone densitometry scan.

You do not have to change your daily routine before this test. Eat, drink, and take any medications as you normally would. However, do not take calciumsupplements or drugs that contain calcium, such as Tums, for 24 hours before your bone densitometry test.

On the Day of a Bone Densitometry Scan

Do not bring valuables such as jewelry or credit cards to your appointment for a bone densitometry scan. You may be asked to wear a hospital gown for the test. After the test, the results are reviewed by certified, specially trained technologists and board-certified radiologists or other specialists trained in the interpretation of the test.

During a Bone Densitometry Scan

For a bone densitometry scan, you will lie on your back, on a padded table, in a comfortable position. The lumbar spine (lower back) and the hip are the skeletal sites usually examined by the scan.

After a Bone Densitometry Scan

Generally, you can resume usual activities immediately after your bone scan. The results of the scan should be available to your doctor within 24 hours after the test. Your doctor will discuss the test results with you.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by David Zelman, MD on April 15, 2015
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