A bone density scan, also known as a DEXA test, is a type of low-dose X-ray ( radio diagnostic test ) that measures calcium and other minerals in the bones. The measurement shows the strength and density (known as bone mass or density) of the bones.
What is it and what is it for?
Bone densitometry is a test or examination that determines bone mineral density. It is used to detect osteoporosis, predict the risk of future fractures or see if the treatment for osteoporosis is working . On the other hand, this test is painless and does not require prior special preparation or admission to the hospital. As for its usefulness, it is a test that is performed routinely and that allows us to measure the degree of bone mineralization.
In short, it allows us to know if there is low bone density for the patient’s age and predict the risk of injury . This test is also called a ‘ DXA or DXA test’ , it compares the patient’s results with those of a healthy young person and draws a conclusion.
The test is usually done on a single bone, usually the hip or the lower vertebrae of the spine. However, in some adults and children it is done throughout the body.
The use of garments and other special protection systems eliminate the danger thanks to Aria’s efficient dose design. In fact, the low dose helps to reduce the worries of patients when undergoing tests and, in this way, they will be relaxed and calm.
Who should have a densitometry test?
Mainly, women from 50 years of age and older and those menopausal and postmenopausal women who are younger should have the densitometry test according to the doctor’s recommendation. For its part, it is recommended that men over 60 years of age take the test.
In addition, it is also recommended for those who have fractured a bone from the age of 45.
“It is recommended that people who have already been diagnosed with osteoporosis get tested every year. Above all, if there has been a change in medication, since it is necessary to observe the evolution of the patient with this new treatment”
“Mainly for women aged 50 and over and men aged 60 and over”
“Those who have fractured a bone after 45 years”
Benefits of Densitometry
- Densitometry is a simple, fast and non-invasive process .
- Bone density testing is currently the best method available to diagnose osteoporosis .
- It is also considered to be an accurate estimator of fracture risk .
- There is no radiation left in a patient’s body after performing the X-ray examination.
- The amount of radiation used is extremely small , less than a tenth of the standard chest X-ray dose and less than a day’s exposure to natural radiation.
- Anesthesia is not required .
Risks of Densitometry
- Women should always tell their doctor or X-ray technologist if there is a possibility of pregnancy .
- Exposure to radiation is very low but there is a slight oncological relationship. However, the benefit of an accurate diagnosis far outweighs the risk.
“The low dose helps to reduce the concerns of patients when undergoing tests and, in this way, they will be relaxed and calm”
Who interprets the results and how do I get them?
A radiologist, a doctor specifically trained to supervise and interpret the tests, will analyze the images and share the results with you. The results of your exams will be given under two scores:
The T-Score shows how much bone you have compared to a young adult of the same gender with peak bone mass. A score greater than -1 is considered normal. A score between -1 and -2.5 is considered low bone mass. A score less than –2.5 is defined as osteoporosis (weak bones). The T-score is used to calculate your risk of developing a fracture.
The Z-Score reflects how much bone you have compared to other people of the same age and gender.