Bone Density Testing

BMD TestA bone density test can determine if you have osteoporosis or are at risk of osteoporosis before you break any bones.

A bone density test uses special X-rays to measure how many grams of calcium and other bone minerals are packed into a segment of bone.

The exam is a fairly accurate predictor of your risk. The results from a bone density test can let you know how you compare with other people of your age, sex and other similar characteristics.

Our BMD testing protocol includes a simple, low-dose x-ray of your hand.

How to prepare for the exam

Discontinue your ingestion of calcium supplements at least 48 hours before your scheduled scan. Increased calcium levels introduced by the use of calcium supplements can lead to inaccurate readings which can complicate the diagnosis of any bone problems that may be present.

Stop taking any medications you are currently using for osteoporosis (or for osteopenia, its precursor) on the day of your scan.

Eat as you normally would on the day of your bone density scan and on the days leading up to it. Other than avoiding calcium supplements, there are no dietary factors which might contribute to an inaccurate reading of your bone mineral density.

Tell your doctor if you have recently swallowed barium as part of an X-ray for gastrointestinal discomfort. Any other solution taken to highlight a specific part of your internal anatomy for radiation-based examination (called a “contrast material”) should also be reported.

Wait at least two weeks if you have taken barium or any other contrast material before you undergo your scan. The presence of contrast materials may interfere with the accuracy of your test results and will need to be completely eliminated from your system before the test.

Wear loose-fitting, comfortable clothes on the day of your scan. Avoid donning any items of clothing with metal zippers or buttons of any kind, or you may be asked to remove your clothes.

The technician will also measure the non-dominant hand to prepare for the test. Most will assume you are right-handed, so be sure to inform the technician if you are left-handed.

After the exam

After the bone density test is completed, you can continue your normal routine.