What is Bone Densitometry and what is it for?

Brittle bones increase the risk of fracture. However, diseases such as osteoporosis are usually asymptomatic until it has reached a certain stage of development, where the spine eventually bends and the bones break more easily. In any case, prevention is essential after a certain age.

Every woman over 55 should have a densitometry bone annually. Before that age, this study will not be necessary, unless the person presents a set of risk factors. For example, it is needed for people with family members with a history of osteoporosis, women with premature menopause, and patients receiving cancer treatment.

In this article we discuss important information about this study. Do you need a bone densitometry? With the aid Magnetosur, one of the best diagnostic testing clinics, you can book your appointment for a bone densitometry in Leganés, both privately and through an agreement with the main insurance companies in the country.

What is a bone density scan?

It is a test that is derived from X-rays, with the ability to offer a detailed analysis of bone density loss, which is directly related to the decrease in calcium. It is the most efficient way to achieve an early diagnosis of osteoporosis, as well as to evaluate the effectiveness of the treatment and detect risks of fractures.

The procedure is quite simple and painless. The patient lies on a table that adapts to different shapes depending on the area of ​​the body where you want to measure bone density. Once the patient is positioned correctly, they will only need to remain relaxed for a few minutes while the measurement is completed.

No prior preparation is required for this study and the entire diagnosis is completed in a maximum of 10 minutes. The procedure mainly analyzes the bones of the spine and hip, however, depending on the criteria of the specialist doctor and the case to be treated, it may be necessary to study some other area of ​​the body in greater detail.

In the diagnostic testing clinic they use a technique called DEXA. This is a technique that uses advanced technology equipment in order to carry out the test by emitting a very low amount of X-rays. The scanner is responsible for slowly traveling the area to be studied, in this way it will collect the information required by the patient from a efficient way.

What is it for?

As we already mentioned in previous lines, the objective of this study is to know exactly the level of bone density of a patient, which is related to the amount of calcium in the bones. With the figures provided by the study it is possible determine the level of brittleness of the bones, their propensity to break and the possibility of developing osteoporosis.

This is a mainly preventive study, which is recommended for all people over 55 years of age. It is also essential for people with risk factors, such as cancer patients, people with a family history of osteoporosis, and women during and after menopause.

It is also necessary for all patients who start a treatment against osteoporosis, which will have to have a bone density analysis every two years, or according to the recommendation of their specialist. This would be the way in which the exact evolution of the disease over time can be evaluated.

How are the results of a bone densitometry interpreted?

Although it is the specialist doctor who must study the results to rule out any kind of problem, anyone can understand the results delivered by the diagnostic center since there is a scale of bone density values ​​(SD) named T-Score which determines the level of risk according to the results obtained. The following table illustrates it:

T-ScoreInterpretationRisk level
Between +1 and –1 * DENormalNormal
Between –1 and –2.5 SDOsteopeniaDouble normal
OsteoporosisQuadruple of normal
of –2.5 SD and fractureEstablished OsteoporosisThe risk is increased by 1.5-2 times for each DE value
<3.5 SDSevere OsteoporosisThe risk is increased by 1.5-2 times for each DE value

In summary, if the T-Score result is between +1 and –1 for bone density, it is considered a normal value, since it is a positive number that indicates good bone health. On the other hand, any negative data (-1) implies a certain risk of fracture that will increase depending on the low level of bone density.

Advantages of having a bone densitometry

For a certain group of patients, such as the elderly, women during and after menopause who have not received hormonal treatment and those who have a family history of osteoporosis or diseases related to weak bones, difficulty in absorbing calcium, etc., bone densitometry will be very advantageous.

It is a quick and non-invasive test, as well as being quite inexpensive, making it accessible to any budget. The radiation emitted by the device is minimal and the exposure lasts for a very short time, which is why it is a safe diagnostic procedure. Pregnant women will have to alert their status to assess the convenience of its implementation.

Nor is it necessary for the patient to prepare in advance. In general terms, it will only be important that you have not consumed any calcium supplement in at least 24 hours before the test, nor use clothing that is excessively tight to the body. It will also be important to find out if you have had a barium exam or have received contrast media injections.

In specialized centers, advanced technology is used that allows a quick and accurate diagnosis. This is essential to efficiently treat osteopenia, osteoporosis and prevent fractures and injuries to the bones, as people advance in age and the level of risk increases.

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