Skip Navigation LinksTrillium Health Partners > Patient Services > Diagnostic Imaging > Bone Mineral Densitometry

 Bone Mineral Densitometry

 
​​Bone Mineral Densitometry is the diagnostic process that uses a very low dose x-ray instrument to measure bone mineral content to determine how dense (thick or thin) your bones are and if you are at risk of breaking bones easily.

A Bone Density exam involves lying on a table for several minutes while a small x-ray detector scans your spine, one hip, or both.  The test is safe, painless, uses a very small amount of radiation and does not require any injections.

The information from a Bone Density exam helps your health care provider determine if you need any medication, and recommend a fracture prevention program for you.

Follow-up bone density scans are useful to see changes in your bone density, and to see how well the medication is working. It is important to have your bone density exam done at the same site each time if possible.

Contact Information

To book or follow up on  the status of your appointment, please contact:

Mississauga Hospital or Queensway Health Centre
Phone: 416-521-4069|
Fax: 416-521-4014

Credit Valley Hospital
Phone: 905-813-2731
Fax: 905-813-4418

Please bring your requisition with you the day of your appointment.

Referrals

A referral from a doctor is required

Resources for Patients & Their Families

Why Perform a Bone Density test?
A Bone Density test identifies patients who have or who potentially will have low bone mineral density (osteoporosis). Osteoporosis, which means "porous bones," is a bone-thinning disease that can lead to serious fractures, typically in the spine, hip and wrist. Although the condition is often considered a "women's disease," men also are affected.

Many people don't know they have osteoporosis until they have a fracture. Knowing if you have or are at risk of osteoporosis means you can be receive treatment which will aid in the prevention of fractures. Bone mineral density tests can also help to determine your rate of bone loss or monitor the effects of treatment

Who Should Have One

Your doctor can help determine if you should have a bone density test.
They are recommended if you are age 65 or older regardless of risk.
Routine exams are only performed every three years. If you're under 65 years of age, you should have a bone density test if you have one or more of the following risk factors:

  • Calcium-deficient diet
  • History of amenorrhea - the abnormal absence of menstruation
  • History of malabsorption
  • Moderate to high alcohol intake
  • Poor nutrition
  • Postmenopausal
  • Prolonged treatment with steroids, certain anti-cancer drugs, thyroid hormone and some anti-seizure medications
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Significant caffeine consumption
  • Small-boned frame
  • Smoker

How to Prepare for Your Procedure

A bone density test requires little preparation. You may eat normally and take medications as prescribed by your doctor the morning of your test.

The only restrictions are:

  • Do not take any vitamin pills or mineral supplements the morning of your exam.

You must not have any exams involving barium or radioisotopes within the last month. These scans interfere with the bone density results.

What to Expect from Your Procedure

A bone density test is a simple, non-invasive and painless exam to measure bone mass in areas such as your spine and hip.

The standard test uses a low dose X-ray to detect signs of bone thinning and mineral loss.

A bone density scan takes about 20 minutes, including registration. During the procedure, you will lie on a table scanner for five to eight minutes. A technologist will sit next to you throughout the procedure.

Getting Your Results

The results of your bone density scan will be available within three to five days. This information will enable your doctor to determine if you're at risk for fractures and require further evaluation. The lower your bone density, the higher your risk for fracture. Test results also help you and your doctor plan the best course of action for your bone health.