This is an x-ray examination carried out to determine the density (thickness) of bones in the body, usually the hip and spine.
The amount of radiation used in the procedure is minute but the examination must be avoided during pregnancy.
It is performed to detect the presence of osteoporosis, a condition in which the bones lack protein and become thin, weak and brittle, therefore increasing the risk of fractures or distortion, (e.g. kyphosis - bending of the spine). It can detect early changes so that preventative measures may be taken.
All metal objects must be removed from the area to be scanned as they may deflect x-rays.
You will be asked to lie on your back on the x-ray couch. If it is a spinal x-ray, your legs will be raised on a cushion. The arm of the x-ray machine is then passed over the area several times and pictures are taken. You must remain still during the procedure but you can talk freely.
After the Test
The scans are reviewed and a report will be sent to your doctor.