According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, of the 10 million Americans estimated to have osteoporosis, 8 million of them are women. We understand the importance of having healthy, strong bones and realize that many factors can affect bone loss. Our San Antonio gynecology practice offers bone density scans to help assess your risk of osteoporotic fracture.
Below are answers to some common questions about bone density scans and osteoporosis. We also encourage you to visit the National Osteoporosis Foundation online.
What should I expect during my bone density scan?
A bone density scan is painless and typically takes 15-20 minutes to complete. All you need to do is lie still and breathe normally. The DEXA scan is like a large examination table; it is padded and comfortable. Your name, age, height, weight, and ethnicity will be entered into the computer before the test. In most cases, you can remain in your normal clothing during the exam. Belt buckles, metal buttons, and metal jewelry will need to be removed from the region being examined. You will be asked to lie on your back, and the staff will position your arms and legs for the test.
- The exam takes 15-20 minutes
- We suggest comfortable clothes with out metal ( belt buckles, buttons, and jewelry in the area to be scanned) typical area is abdomen and hips
- The bone density machine is a large padded table for your comfort with a x-ray unit underneath it
- You will be lying on your back for the exam
How safe is the bone density test?
Even though x-rays are used, the amount of radiation absorbed is only about 1/10th of that received from a chest x-ray. The x-ray dose from the bone density scan is comparable to the naturally occurring radiation you are exposed to in one week.
What information will the bone density test give my doctor?
The test compares your bone mass density (BMD) to a “young adult” at peak bone strength. It also compares your BMD to people of your same age. These comparisons, along with other factors, help us to gauge your risk of osteoporotic fracture. A panel of experts at the World Health Organization developed categories that define your T-score.
What is fracture risk?
A diagnosis of osteoporosis cannot predict a bone fracture, just as high cholesterol cannot predict a heart attack. Instead, it means that the risk of having a fracture is higher than if your results indicated normal bones. Your test results along with other factors give us your overall risk of fracture. There are a number of ways to reduce your risk of fracture and osteoporosis. Your physician may suggest exercise, changes in diet, hormone therapy, or medication. Today, with new techniques for early detection and new treatment options, osteoporosis management can be monitored.
Institute for Women’s Health OB/GYN offers bone density scans in the office at most of our locations. Schedule your bone density scan by contacting our office.