A Bone Density scan is a simple test that measures the calcium content within your bones. It requires no preparation, and involves scanning the lower spine and hip, and occassionally the forearm. You will lie on a bed and the scanner will move over the areas to be scanned. This is a painless procedure and uses a very small amount of radiation.
What is Osteoporosis?
Ostoeporosis is a condition where the bones become fragile and break easily. There is often no sign of the disease until you break a bone. Breaks due to osteoporosis occur commonly in the spine and hip.
Who should have a bone density scan?
Current recommendations are that all women should consider having a bone density scan at age 65. Women should consider an earlier scan if they have additional risk factors.
The five main risks are:
- A family history of osteoporosis
- A previous fracture over the age of 20 years
- Early menopause (under 45)
- Low body weight
Preparation: You may wear any kind of clothing you like, but please avoid metal buttons or buckles. The examination takes approximately 30 minutes, but please allow plenty of time.
Following your scan: Your bone density is calculated automatically by the machine and compared to the average person of your age, sex, weight and ethnicity. Your scan results are interpreted by a radiologist and we also have available a specialist in osteoporosis, who can advise on treatment when necessary. This information will enable your doctor to advise you on your risk of a fracture and any treatment you may need, or lifestyle changes you could make to ensure an active future.