Bone Density

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Osteoporosis is an age-related disorder, where the bone mass decreases and the potential for bone fractures increase. Approximately 1.2 million fractures that occur each year is attributed to osteoporosis, and of that number, nearly one-third are fractures to the spine. Generally, premenopausal women are at the highest risk for developing osteoporosis, but recent trends have shown men, younger women and even children are being diagnosed with low bone density.

It is unanimously agreed by medical professionals that densitometry exams need to be used more often for men, women and children who are showing even minor symptoms of low bone density. Often times, those diagnosed with osteoporosis are still very unaware of how susceptible they really are to bone fractures. Once a patient has their first bone fracture, they are 20 percent more likely to experience another within the first year and increasingly more from that point forward.

With the advancements in today’s technology, patients are able to have more effective and efficient treatment, which reduces the potential for osteoporosis-related fractures.

Main Street Radiology utilizes an enhanced form of radiology technology called a dual-energy X-ray absorpitometry (DEXA), to accurately detect osteoporosis. This is the standard technology used for measuring and monitoring bone mineral density (BMD).

We recommend bone mineral density (BMD) testing if you are:

  • A woman 65 or older
  • A postmenopausal woman under 65 with certain risk factors for osteoporosis
  • A man 70 or older
  • An adult with fragility fracture
  • An adult taking medication that is associated with low bone mass or bone loss
  • An adult with a disease or condition that is associated with low bone mass or bone loss
  • Someone being treated for bone loss
  • Someone being considered for pharmalogical therapy for bone loss
  • Someone not receiving therapy, but have evidence of bone loss
  • A woman who meets any of the indications listed above and is taking estrogen

What to Expect

DEXA is a fast, pain-free procedure that measures the lower spine and hips for bone loss. It may also be used to assess your risk for developing fractures. DEXA is also used to monitor the effects of treatment from osteoporosis or other conditions that may be causing bone loss.

One of our Board Certified radiologists will review and interpret the information gathered from the DEXA exam. If low bone density is found, we will work closely with a referring physician to develop a personalized treatment plan geared at preventing fractures before they happen.

Test results are given in the form of two scores:

  • T-score: Compares the amount of bone the patient has to a young adult of the same gender.
  • Z-score: Compares the amount of bone the patient has to a person in their age group and of the same gender and size.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), these are the criteria for postmenopausal women:

  • Normal: T-score -1.0 or above
  • Osteopenia: T-score between -1.0 and -2.5
  • Osteoporosis: T-score between -2.5 and below

Depending on the patient’s score, serial BMD testing may be recommended to allow for accurate monitoring of bone density levels and early indications for treatment. Your referring physician will determine how often you should receive BMD testing.