Bone Mineral Densitometry

Bone Mineral Densitometry (BMD) is the method used to quantify the mass of bone in the body. The machine uses a very low dose X-ray to perform measurement of bone density. Patients who have been referred by their doctors for a BMD scan are usually being assessed for osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is a common bone disease which makes bone fragile and easy to fracture. Future risk of fracture can be predicted through a BMD measurement and steps can then be taken to prevent them from happening.

Test Preparation

  • Do not wear metal around your waist.
  • No barium X-rays of the abdomen within one week of the test

Exam Procedure

You will be asked to fill in a detailed questionnaire. This tells the physicians who interpret the scans a bit about your history, e.g. if you have a relative who had osteoporosis, or if you are on medications that may reduce the bone density. You will be asked to remove any metal items from around your waist (belts, keys, coins etc.).

For the typical patient, you will lie on a bed and two images will be taken (one of your hip and one of your spine). Some patients will have a bone density scan of their wrist performed instead. The procedure will take approximately 15 minutes.