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Bone Mineral Density Scan

What is a bone mineral density scan?
A bone mineral density scan is a test that measures the strength of your bones and the density of minerals like calcium in your bones.

What are some common reasons why a bone mineral density scan may be performed?
A bone mineral density scan is often used to evaluate your risk of developing osteoporosis or to evaluate how well treatment for osteoporosis is working.

How is a bone mineral density scan performed?
You will be instructed about what to wear to your appointment, what to eat before the test, how the test will be performed, and how the test will feel.

Sacred Heart Hospital uses a type of bone mineral density scan called a dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DEXA) scan. The DEXA scan is the most accurate way to measure bone mineral density. During a DEXA scan, two different X-ray beams measure the density of your spine and hip bones. If your bones are strong and dense, less X-ray beams will be able to pass through your spine and hips. The amount of X-ray beams that are blocked by bone and soft tissue are compared to each other.

Who should get a bone mineral density scan?
Bone mineral density scans are recommended for:

  • post-menopausal women who are 60 years of age or older who have risk factors for osteoporosis
  • all women who are 65 years of age and older
  • all men who are 70 years of age or older
  • men who have risk factors for osteoporosis
  • men and women who have hyperparathyroidism
  • men and women who have been taking corticosteroids for an extended period of time
  • men and women who have been undergoing treatment for osteoporosis

How do I schedule a bone mineral density scan?
Bone mineral density scans can be performed at Sacred Heart Hospital and Sacred Heart Imaging Northampton, an affiliate of Sacred Heart HealthCare System.

To schedule a bone mineral density scan at Sacred Heart Hospital, please call One Call Scheduling at 610-776-5180.

To schedule a bone mineral density scan at Sacred Heart Imaging Northampton, please call 610-262-6622.

For more information about bone mineral density scans, please call the Lanshe Women’s Health Center at 610-776-4660.

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