Bone density test or bone densitometry is a radiological way to measure your bone density.
Bone density measures the strength of your bones and helps predict the chance that you'll sustain a bone fracture because of osteoporosis.
The lower your bone density, the more likely you are to fracture a bone.
A bone density test is helpful in telling you how your bone strength and mass measures up to other people in your age group.
Bone density can be measured by several different tests.
A standard x-ray isn't a good way to measure bone density because your doctor can't see or detect any bone loss on the x-ray until you've lost at least 30 percent of your bone mass. Obviously, you need to know about bone loss long before you lose 30 percent.
Dual Energy X-Ray Absorptiometry (DXA) is the most common bone density test people have. The DXA is the most widely used bone density test and is the one most insurance companies cover.
A DXA scan typically measures the density of your lower spine and left hip. Some DXA scanners also measure the strength of your wrist.
A DXA scan is painless, requires no advanced preparation, and is quite accurate. The only preparation is to not take calcium tablets the day before or the day of the procedure.
Single Energy X-Ray Absoptionmetry (SXA) measures the bone density in the forearm or heel.
The SXA scan has many disadvantages including...
However, the SXA test does have a couple advantages. The equipment for the test is portable and the cost for testing is low.
Perpheral Dual Energy X-Ray Absorptiometry (PDXA) measures only peripheral sites such as the wrist, finger, or heel. This test also takes less time to complete than the SXA test. The equipment is portable but also higher than SXA.
The PDXA also has the advantage of delivering a very low radiation dose and has a high resolution and high degree of accuracy.
Radiographic Absorptiometry (RA) is known as photodensitometry. RA has the advantage of using standard x-ray equipment, but it requires specialized equipment that scans film at high resolution. RA also delivers a minimal amount of radiation.
Peripheral Quantative Computed Tomography (pQCT) is a very accurate test that uses a CAT scanner with specialized software. This test is fairly accurate and expensive. This test results in a higher exposure to radiation and also takes longer to obtain the scan.
The pQCT is the only test that measures cortical bone and trabecular bone in the forearm.
It's recommended that the following people have a density test.
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