Bone Density Scanning
Q. Will it Hurt?
A. No. There is absolutely NO pain.
Q. What Do I Need to Do Before the Test?
A. Nothing, However, let us know if you have ahd an xray exam in the last few days that involved a contrast medium such as barium.
Q. What Should I Wear?
A. Wear comfortable clothes such as a sweatsuit. If possible, don't wear anthing with zippers or buttons. These may interfere with the scan.
Q. Should I Bring Prior Test Results?
A. Yes. If you have had a Bone Density Scan before, let us know, and please bring it with you.
Q. Do I See a Doctor during the Exam?
A. No. Like most xrays, a technician does the exam. However, your physician has already examined you and has determined that a Bone Density Scan is indicated.
Q. What Is the Bone Density Scan Like?
A. You will lie down on a padded xray table with your head on a pillow. Your legs will be elevated on a foam block during part of the exam. The scan takes several minutes. However, you do not need to hold your breath. Just stay still.
Q. When Do I Get the Test Results?
A. Following the test, one of our physicians will study your test and will communicate the results to your doctors. This includes an xray image and a computer analysis as well as an interpretation of the scan. Therefore, make sure to talk with your doctor several days after the exam or set up an office visit to go over the results.
Q. Just What Does the Test Show?
A. A Bone Density Scan shows the thickness of your bones, primarily in the spine and hips. (These are the areas that result in the greatest amount of disability if fractured.) Your actual Bone Density is compared to that of your adults without bone loss.
Q. What happens Next?
A. If your doctor feels you would benefit from it, a course of treatment designed to slow or reverse bone loss will be initiated. Generally, this involves estrogen, calcitonin, alendronate, residronate or raloxifene.
Q. What about Radiation?
A. Bone Density Scanning involves a level of radiation similar to a dental xray. It has such a low dose that the Health Department does not require any special shielding.
Q. Is This Test Covered by Insurance?
A. Bone Density Scanning is covered by nearly all insurance plans - including Medicare - for people who are at risk for Osteoporosis or other types of bone loss. If you have no risk factors, but want to have a Bone Density Scan to determine if you are at risk for Osteoporosis, you may have to pay the charge for the test yourself. Check with your insurance plan to make sure.