Bone Mineral Density

The Best Care

What is a Bone Mineral Density?

A bone mineral densitometry test (BMD), is also known as dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry scan (DXA).  A bone mineral density, or BMD, is an enhanced form of low energy x-ray technology designed to detect possible bone loss or Osteoporosis.

This scan measures bone density to help your doctor find out if you have osteoporosis or are at risk of bone fractures.The routine test is safe and painless.  A BMD test is considered the most effective and precise method for early detection of bone changes and osteoporosis.

What is Osteoporosis?

Osteoporosis, or “porous bones,” is a disease where bones lose their protein and calcium.  It can lead to fractures, pain and deformities most often at the spine, wrist or hip.  Early detection is imperative because you may not even notice you have it until you sustain a painful fracture

Who should have a BMD test?

Osteoporosis Canada recommends all women and men 50 years or older begin regular BMD testing.  However, you and your physician may decide to get the screening done at an earlier age based on certain risk factors.

What happens during a BMD scan?

On arrival for your Bone Density, you will complete a brief questionnaire asking about your health history and medications.  You will be asked to change if needed and the technologist will review some questions related to your bone health.  Your height and weight will be measured. This allows the computer to generate information about your bone density.

You will lay on the Bone Density bed and are scanned.  So that results are accurate and comparable at each a cushioned box will be placed under your knees. The cushioned box allows the small of your back or lower spine to lie flat on the table. To scan the hip, this box is removed and a frame made up of a flat sheet of Perspex with a triangle at one end will be placed between your feet.

The frame allows the leg being scanned to be positioned accurately. The foot is strapped to the triangle by Velcro, and the knee can also be held in place by a Velcro strap to keep the leg still.  Generally, neither of these positioning manoeuvres are uncomfortable or painful.

How Do I Prepare?

There is no preparation that you need to do for this exam.