Bone Density is a painless way to measure the health and strength of your bones.

What is bone density testing?

Bone density testing-also known as bone densitometry or DEXA scanning- will tell you and your physician whether any part of your frame appears to be weakened or in danger of weakening due to diminishing bone mineral mass. Age, diet, medications (corticosteriods and thyroid medications), medical conditions (diabetes or Cushing’s syndrome), and past fractures are among the factors that can lead to osteoporosis (brittle bones). Freehold Radiology Group is proud to offer patients bone densitometers with an additional capability called Vertebral Fracture Assessment. With VFA, physicians can see existing vertebral fractures which may indicate the need for more aggressive treatment, even if the bone density results are in the "normal" range.

The earlier osteoporosis is detected, the better able your doctor can help you to avoid the pain and increased serious fracture risk that affects more than 30 million Americans with the condition. This is especially important given the fact that more than half of osteoporosis patients will develop a spontaneous fracture during their lifetimes. Most of these will occur in the hip, spine, and wrist. Up to 24 percent of elderly patients with hip fractures will die within one year of the fracture, while many more will require long-term institutional care.

How does bone density testing work?

Using X-ray technology to “see” parts of your skeletal structure, this quick (just a few minutes) test requires only that you lie still during the scanning process. There is little radiation concern with DEXA scanning; it is estimated to emit less than one-tenth that of a chest X-ray. Vertebral Fracture Assessment is basically a rapid (10second), low dose x-ray scan of the entire spine, taken in combination with a standard DEXA

Thanks to bone density testing using our new Hologic Discovery Technology DEXA unit, you can learn not only whether you are at risk for osteoporosis, but whether you could benefit from such treatments as hormone replacement therapy (related to menopause), calcium or vitamin D supplements, special exercises, or even reduced alcohol consumption. Your physician may also recommend a schedule of follow-up tests to monitor treatment and progress.

How should you prepare?

On the day of the exam eat normally, but don't take calcium supplements for at least 24 hours beforehand. Do not take any medications your physician has instructed you to avoid prior to your test. Wear loose, comfortable clothing, avoiding garments that have zippers, belts or buttons made of metal.

Inform your physician if you recently had a barium examination or have been injected with a contrast material for a computed tomography (CT) scan or radioisotope scan; you may have to wait 10 to 14 days before undergoing a DEXA test. Women should always inform their physician or x-ray technologist if there is a possibility they are pregnant.

For additional information on osteoporosis, see the web sites of the National Osteoporosis Foundation and the International Society for Clinical Densitometry.