Bone density testing is used to assess the strength of the bones and the probability of fracture in persons at risk for osteoporosis. The test, referred to as bone densitometry or bone mineral density scan (BMD), is a simple, noninvasive procedure that takes just minutes.
The bone densitometry test is available in the Radiology department at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital. The test provides early diagnosis of osteoporosis, a disease of debilitating bone loss. A bone densitometer uses painless radiographic imaging to measure bone mineral density in the hips and lower back area.
To undergo the test, a patient lies down on a table, fully clothed, while the equipment briefly passes overhead. Measurements based on age, weight, sex and ethnic background are analyzed to determine the patient’s age-related fracture risk. A radiologist reads the results and gives his/her impressions to the referring physician, who in turn, discusses them with the patient.
The test is available for both men and women. However, women are most commonly diagnosed, usually post-menopausal.
Some insurance plans cover the test. Medicare covers a screening test every other year, annually for those who have been diagnosed with osteoporosis.