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Bone Densitometry

A bone density study helps diagnose osteoporosis (bone thinning). Scans of your lower back, hip, or forearm are taken to measure the amount of calcium (density) in your bones. Calcium is the mineral that makes up your bones. The technologist will adjust your body and the scanner during the exam.

Before Your Test

Wear clothing without metal closures, such as zippers or metal buttons. Bring a list of medications that you take.

Tell the technologist if you:

- Are pregnant or think you may be

- Have any metal in the part of your body being imaged, such as a hip replacement

- Have had a recent nuclear medicine scan or a barium enema

- Have a severely curved spine, have had spinal surgery, or can’t lie on your back

During Your Test

You will lie on a table or sit.

Your lower legs may be raised on a platform.

A scanner arm moves back and forth over the part of your body being scanned.

Remain still and do not talk during the scan.

Follow instructions to help prevent the need for a second exam.

After Your Test

You may need to wait briefly while the images are reviewed. Your doctor will discuss the test results with you during a follow-up visit or over the phone.

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