Bone Densitometry – Most Accurate Method for Measuring Bone Loss

Bone densitometry, also called bone density scanning or dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DXA) is an enhanced form of x-ray technology that is used to measure bone loss. Bone density scanning is the standard technology widely accepted for measuring bone mineral density.

Bone densitometry is generally performed on the lower spine and hips. A x-ray radiograph, a noninvasive medical test helps doctors diagnose and treat medical disorders. Doctors often use ultrasound or CT scan with special software to diagnose or monitor low bone mass. There are various other medical imaging techniques but dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry is most commonly used for scanning.

There are two types of bone density scanning equipments:
  • Central DXA device: To measure bone density in the hip and spine area.
  • Peripheral devices: To measure bone density in the wrist, heel or finger
The bone densitometry machine sends thin, invisible beam of low-dose x-rays through the bones being examined. Of the two distinct energy peaks being sent, one peak is absorbed by the soft tissue while the other is absorbed by the bone. The soft tissue amount can be deducted from the total and what remains is the patient’s bone mineral density. DXA machines feature special software that display bone density measurements on the computer screen.

Some of the benefits of bone densitometry are as given below:
  • Simple, quick and noninvasive procedure
  • Anesthesia not required
  • Most accurate method for the diagnosis of osteoporosis
  • Extremely small amount of radiation is used
  • After the test, no radiation remains in the patient’s body
The bone densitometry test can be completed with half an hour, depending on the equipment being used and the part of the body being examined.

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