Bone Mineral Density Testing by DXA

Contents

How is Bone Mineral Density Tested?

DXA Scan One of the best ways for a physician to know whether a patient has osteoporosis is through a bone mineral density (BMD) exam. The most popular way to measure BMD is through a quick, easy procedure known as a DXA (Dual-energy X-ray Absorptiometry) evaluation. The DXA evaluation is one of the most recommended ways for a physician to measure bone density. Since early treatment of low bone density helps to prevent future bone fractures, DXA evaluations are recommended for anyone at risk of developing osteoporosis. A DXA evaluation may also be recommended for people with new fractures and are considered at risk for osteoporosis. The exam is easy, painless, and only takes about 20 minutes.

Why is it Important to Have My BMD Tested?

The complications of broken bones resulting from osteoporosis are often severe, particularly in the elderly. The earlier osteoporosis can be identified, the sooner effective treatment can be implemented, thus most likely lessening the severity of the condition.

What Do I Need to Know About My DXA Evaluation?

DXA measure bone density at various places in the body, such as the spine and hip. It does not require special preparation, medications, or injections.

DXA uses a very weak form of X-ray (a small fraction of the radiation of a standard chest X-ray) to rapidly scan your bones. A computer converts this information to numbers indicating your bone density.

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Can I Schedule an Appointment for a DXA Evaluation?

If you have not yet had a DXA evaluation, note that an order from your healthcare provider is required before your bone density exam can be scheduled. Please obtain an order from your provider.

Then, call (585) 275-5321 to schedule an appointment.

If you have already had a DXA evaluation, call (585) 275-5321 to schedule a consultation. Please have your healthcare providers name, your insurance information, and the date and location of your DXA evaluation with you when you call.

What Should I Wear?

A DXA exam does not require you to remove any of your clothes. Wear comfortable clothing like sweatpants and a T-shirt, but nothing with metal, such as zippers, snaps, jewelry, buttons, or buckles.

Why Choose the URMC Center for Bone Health?

Our practice is recognized as the leader in the Rochester, NY nine-county region in the diagnosis and treatment of osteoporosis. We balance the latest technology in bone density measurement with a personal, caring approach to ensure that you receive bone care with the attention and respect you deserve. We have two DXA evaluations locations to serve you:

DXA scans at our Clinton Crossings clinic

DXA scans at the Women’s Health Pavilion

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Does My Insurance Cover DXA?

For a patient at risk for osteoporosis, most insurance carriers – including Medicare – cover the DXA exam. If you have questions about your coverage, please call our office. On the day of your appointment, please bring identification and your insurance card. We respect your privacy and will handle your medical records and personal information professionally.

How does DXA Work?

The DXA bone densitometry test determines your BMD. Your BMD is compared to two sets of normal values to give a T-score and a Z-score.

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What do My Scores Mean?

T-score Interpretation

First, your BMD result is compared with the BMD results from healthy 25- to 35-year-old adults of your same gender and ethnicity. This result is your T-score. Positive T-scores indicate the bone is stronger than normal; negative T-scores indicate the bone is weaker than normal. T-score numbers are expressed as standard deviations, or SDs.

According to the World Health Organization, osteoporosis is defined based on the following T-score results:

+1.0 to -1.0 SD indicates normal bone density.

-1.0 to -2.5 SDs indicates low bone mass.

-2.5 SDs or lower indicates the presence of osteoporosis.

In general, the risk for bone fracture doubles with every SD below normal. Thus, a person with a score of -1 has twice the risk for bone fracture as a person with a score of 0. A person with a score of -2 has four times the risk for bone fracture as a person with a normal T-score.

Secondly, your BMD is compared to normal values for patients of the same age, gender, race, height, and weight as you. This is called your Z-score. Z-scores are calculated in the same way T-scores are calculated.

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Can I Schedule a Consultation?

If you have already had a DXA evaluation, call (585) 275-5321 to schedule a consultation. Please have your healthcare providers name, your insurance information, and the date and location of your DXA evaluation with you when you call.

If you have not yet had a DXA evaluation, note that an order from your healthcare provider is required before your bone density exam can be scheduled. Please obtain an order from your provider. Then, call (585) 275-5321 to schedule an appointment.

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