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Bone Density Study

A bone density study helps diagnose osteoporosis (bone thinning). Scans of your lower back, hip, or forearm are taken to measure the amount of calcium (density) in your bones. Calcium is the mineral that makes up your bones.

Tell the Technologist

 Tell the tecnologist if you:

  • Are pregnant or think you may be

  • Have any metal in the part of your body being imaged, such as a hip replacement

  • Have had a recent nuclear medicine scan, contrast-enhanced CT scan, or an X-ray test with dye, such as a barium enema, barium swallow, or esophagram 

  • Have a severely curved spine, have had spinal surgery, or can’t lie on your back

Woman lying on table with head supported by wedge. Her knees are bent with lower legs on platform. Scanner arm is over her abdomen and pelvis. Healthcare provider is adjusting the scanner.
The technologist will adjust your body and the scanner during the exam.

Before Your Test

  • Wear clothing without metal closures, such as zippers or metal buttons.

  • Bring a list of medications that you take.

During Your Test

  • You will lie on a table or sit.

  • Your lower legs may be raised on a platform.

  • A scanner arm moves back and forth over the part of your body being scanned.

  • Remain still and do not talk during the scan.

  • Follow instructions to help prevent the need for a second exam.

After Your Test

  • You may need to wait briefly while the images are reviewed.

  • Your doctor will discuss the test results with you during a follow-up visit or over the phone.

Your next appointment is: _________________

Online Medical Reviewer: Dozier, Tennille, RN, BSN, RDMS
Online Medical Reviewer: MMI board-certified, academically affiliated clinician
Last Review Date: 12/28/2013
© 2000-2014 Krames StayWell, 780 Township Line Road, Yardley, PA 19067. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.