Bone Density Screening

Osteoporosis, which means "porous bones," is a bone-thinning disease that can lead to debilitating fractures, typically in the spine and hip. Although the condition is often considered a "women's disease," men also are affected.

Many people don't know they have osteoporosis until they have a fracture or have a bone density scan, also known as a bone mineral density (BMD) test. A bone density scan is a simple, non-invasive test that measures a person's bone density or volume of calcium and minerals within bone tissue. Bone density scans are available at Tops Comprehensive Breast Center and can help to:

  • Detect osteoporosis before a fracture occurs
  • Predict your chance of fracturing in the future
  • Determine your rate of bone loss or monitor the effects of treatment

How should I prepare?

  • On the day of the exam you may eat normally. Do not take any vitamins or mineral supplements the morning of your exam.
  • You should wear loose, comfortable clothing. Avoid wearing garments that have zippers, belts or buttons made of metal.
  • Inform your physician if you recently had any exams involving barium or radioisotopes within the last month. These scans interfere with the bone density results.
  • Women should always inform their physician and x-ray technologist if there is any possibility that they are pregnant.

What should I expect?

You can usually remain fully clothed. You may lie with your legs straight or with your lower legs resting against a platform built into the table. The machine will scan your bones and measure the amount of radiation they absorb. A bone density scan takes about 15 to 20 minutes. It is best to test the same bones and to use the same equipment each time you have a bone density scan.

How do I get the results?

A radiologist will interpret your exam. A report will be sent to your physician’s office to discuss results. This information will enable your doctor to determine if you're at risk for fractures and require further evaluation. The lower your bone density is, the higher your risk for fracture. Test results also help you and your doctor plan the best course of action for your bone health.