Bone Mineral Density Assessment
Bone mineral density provides a measure of the mineral content of your bones. The more dense the bone, the stronger and the less likely it is to break. There are several ways to measure bone density. The two most common areas measured by a bone density assessment are the spine and hip. Sometimes screening is done using a wrist or heel unit. Most bone density assessment tests use low-dose radiation to determine how dense the bone is. Bone density assessment testing is most often done to test for osteoporosis. It is sometimes tested before spinal surgery to determine the bone’s density before putting in metal implants such as fusion cages or artificial discs. It should be noted that a bone density assessment test is not the same as a bone scan.
Conditions Evaluated by Bone Density Assessment
Osteoporosis and osteopenia.
What to Expect Before the Bone Density Assessment
- You will be asked to remove belts and all items from your pockets (you do not have to change into a gown).
What to Expect During a Bone Density Assessment
- You will lie on your back. There are some testing devices that require you to lie on your side.
- A small machine will pass over your low back. You may be repositioned for the scan of your hips.
- The test takes less than 30 minutes.
- You can drive yourself back home or to work after the scan.
What to Expect After a Bone Density Assessment
- A doctor will read the information from the scan.
- You will need to have an appointment with the doctor to discuss the results of the scan and treatment options if the bone density is low.