Osteoporosis & Bone Density Scan (DXA)
Osteoporosis, also known as brittle bone disease, is characterized by low bone strength, which makes bones weak and more likely to fracture. Statistics show that more than 50 million Americans, mostly post-menopausal women, have low bone mass or osteoporosis.
Osteoporosis is a silent disease, and you should not wait until a fracture occurs to get a bone density test (DXA scan). It is important to be screened. DXA scan is the only test that can diagnose osteoporosis.
What Is a Bone Density Scan (DXA)?
A bone density test, also known as a DXA scan, can diagnose osteoporosis well before a fracture occurs. In fact, DXA is the gold standard used throughout the world to establish bone health status and to track changes in bone density, which is a very important component of bone strength.
DXA stands for Dual Energy X-ray Absorptiometer. It is a low-dose X-ray instrument that precisely measures the bone density of specific regions of the skeleton. The test is painless, takes less than 40 minutes, and does not require undressing or fasting.
Bone density testing is performed with the patient lying on a comfortable, padded table. A low-energy X-ray beam is passed through the bones in the spine, hip, or other skeletal sites, and measures, in a highly precise and reproducible manner, the density of the bone of interest. These bone mineral density (BMD) measurements determine the strength of bone and its risk for fracture, which is characterized as normal, osteopenia, or osteoporosis.
When Should You Get a Bone Density Scan (DXA)?
The Bone Health and Osteoporosis Foundation (BHOF) recommends that all women over the age of 65 and men over the age of 70 get a bone density scan (DXA) to screen for osteoporosis. Patients with other risk factors should get the test sooner. Talk to your doctor if you are a candidate.
With a timely and accurate DXA scan at IBJI, your physician will personalize a plan with you to improve the quality of your bones to prevent fractures.
IBJI’s arthritis and osteoporosis specialists are proud to use a new diagnostic tool that is becoming the standard of care in the diagnosis of osteoporosis and assessment of fracture risk, called the trabecular bone score (TBS).
FAQs about Bone Density Scans
Using the DXA instrument, bone density scans take about 40 minutes.
Bone density scans allow doctors to check your bone health. It is the only test that can diagnose osteoporosis. The scan will reveal a measurement that will tell you whether your bone density is normal or low (osteopenia or osteoporosis). Please schedule an appointment with one of our board-certified rheumatologists. An IBJI technologist will perform the scan and results will be read by a board- and ISCD-certified rheumatologist.
Doctors order bone density scans to determine if your bone density is normal, osteopenic, or osteoporotic. This allows them to make recommendations regarding the appropriate preventive and treatment options to help you avoid further bone loss and prevent fractures.
Bone density or DXA scans are quick and painless. They are safe for most people, and you can drive yourself home after the test. However, pregnant women should avoid them, as even low doses of radiation can potentially harm an unborn baby.
There are a variety of treatments including nutrition, vitamin supplements, exercise and pharmacological agents. There are oral, subcutaneous and infusion medications (Prolia, Evenity, Reclast, Boniva IV) which we offer in our on-site infusion center.