A Bone Mineral Densitometry (BMD) scan, is also called a DEXA scan (dual energy X-ray absorptiometry). It is a low dose X-ray test that measures bone mineral content, and provides information as to whether you have lost any bone (osteopenia/osteoporosis). Osteoporosis is a major cause of fractures.
A BMD scan is usually taken of the lower spine and both hips. The forearm may also be scanned, although less often.
When should a BMD scan be done?
There are a number of other radiology tests that interfere with the results of a BMD scan. These include barium studies, nuclear medicine tests, or any CT scan or MRI scan involving an injection. Following any of the above tests, you should wait one week before having a BMD scan.
BMD scans have a number of Medicare restrictions. If it is a screening BMD scan, Medicare does not give a rebate. If you have a medical condition that meets one of Medicares criteria, you will be eligible for the rebate; however there are time restrictions between scans. Certain medical conditions are given the rebate once a year, other conditions once only every 2 years. Please feel free to call our office for any further information required
No preparation is needed for a BMD scan. You do not need to fast and you may take your medications as usual.
It is helpful to wear clothing that has no buttons, metal buckles or zippers as metal objects interfere with the accuracy of the results. A gown will be provided if clothing needs to be removed.
How is it done?
Firstly, a questionnaire is filled out to obtain relevant information such as if you have had any previous bone density scans, any medical conditions that affect bone density, or previous fractures of any bones.
You will be asked to remove any clothing with buttons, buckles, or zippers, and change into a gown. Your height and weight will be measured, and then you will be asked to lie on your back on the bed. A cushioned box will be placed under your knees to scan your lower spine. A triangular frame will be placed between your feet to scan your hips.
How long does it take?
Each scan takes between 1-2 minutes. Generally 3 scans are done, so the total scan time is between 3-6 minutes.
The entire appointment time is 15-20 minutes, which allows for filling in of the questionnaire, and changing for the examination.
What should I do on the day of the test?
Please remember to bring your referral letter from your referring Doctor, plus any previous BMD scans or other related scans.
Will I get the results when I leave?
Immediately after the examination the scans will be printed and given to you. A report will be prepared by our Radiologist (Specialist X-ray Doctor). This takes approximately 2 hours to be prepared and typed and is then faxed or emailed electronically to your doctor.