Bone Density Scan

This is a simple, quick and non-invasive procedure which uses a small amount of radiation equal to one day of exposure to normal background radiation. The test will assess your bone strength and calculate your risk of fracture.

Benefit

Bone density testing can identify decreases in bone density before you break a bone; determine your risk of broken bones (fractures); confirm a diagnosis of osteoporosis or monitor osteoporosis treatment.

Procedure

If your doctor suspects that you have osteoporosis, you will be asked to have a bone density exam. It is usually done in women starting at age 50 and in men at age 70 but may be done earlier if there is a family history of osteoporosis or other risk factors. Your report will give you your T-score, which is the number of standard deviations that your bone density is above or below the average. Osteoporosis is defined as a T-score of less than -2.5. If your bone density is average or above, you will not need another test for five or 10 years. If not, it will be repeated in one or two years. Medication may be recommended if osteoporosis is found.

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