Mercy Health Love County - Content

Bone Density Scans

The bone density scanner, acquired by the hospital in 2008, performs a special x-ray procedure that determines the strength of bones. Bones shown as low in mineral density are weak. The test results predict the likelihood of fracture.

For the bone density test, the patient lies on an examination table and the scanner moves over the top of the body, directing x-ray energy from two different sources toward the bones being examined. The test takes 30 minutes. The scan focuses on the spine and left and right femur (hip bones).

Patients may inquire about bone density scans by contacting the clinic at 276-2400.

The medical condition describing weak bones is osteoporosis. A borderline condition is osteopenia.

Hip, wrist, and spine are particularly vulnerable to fracture in affected patients. Their numbers are legion, increasing with age. An estimated 28 million Americans have osteoporosis, according to the national foundation for this disease.

Osteoporosis affects four times more women than men. Its onset often occurs after menopause, when the female body stops producing certain protective hormones.

Other conditions, like smoking, thyroid disease, long-term steroid use, and poor diets also can result in brittle bones.

Osteoporosis can be avoided or deferred. That’s the point of the bone density scan. A baseline test is recommended for post-menopausal women with subsequent re-testing every two years, the radiology department says.

Diets rich in calcium and vitamin D help avoid or defer osteoporosis. Certain medications help reverse or lessen the condition.