Bone Mineral Density also known as a BMD is a short scan during which we assess the health of your bones. The BMD scan uses dual-energy x-ray to measure the density of your bones, which provides important information about bone strength, bone fragility and the risk of bone fractures or breaks. The higher your bone density, the lower the risk of fractures.
When the BMD scan is being completed, images of your hips and your spine will be captured. Sometimes, an image of your forearm will be used as a substitute for the hip or spine. While we will only need to test these small areas, the information collected will reflect the health of your entire skeleton and overall bone density.
Why would you have a BMD scan?
There are several reasons why your doctor may have referred you for a BMD scan. These reasons include:
- You may have a medical condition that could weaken your bones
- If you’ve had a fracture due to a small injury or fall
- If you’re losing height
Overall, the most common reason for the above is osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is a common, treatable condition which increases in likelihood with age. It is important to diagnose osteoporosis early as it can lead to bone fragility and other ailments. One of the best methods to diagnose osteoporosis is by having a BMD scan as it will reveal whether you have a small amount of bone loss (osteopenia) or a larger amount of bone loss (osteoporosis) compared to others in your age category.
Things to know
- We have the ability to scan children at some of our practices, just ask at time of booking where we have the specialised software.
- You will be required to lie on a bed during the scan. If weight restrictions or previous spinal surgery prevent you laying on the bed, we can scan your forearm instead.
- We have two types of BMD scanner at Queensland X-Ray. One scanner has a weight limit of 130kg and the other 200kg.
- The BMD scan will take around 15 minutes, however before the scan, your weight, height and medical history are collected so please allow 30 minutes for the whole appointment.
- Your BMD scan will be conducted by an experienced Radiographer.
- There is no preparation required for a BMD scan
- You will not need to fast, and can take all medication as usual
- The scan is not performed in an enclosed environment, but an open bed, so you won’t need to worry about confined spaces
- While it’s not essential, it’s helpful to wear lose fitting clothing without metal buckles, fasteners, or zips
- You will not be able to have this scan if you are pregnant.
After your examination
The results of your BMD scan will be sent directly to your referring Doctor and we encourage you book a timely follow-up appointment to discuss your results with them.
Please ask for a quote when you book your appointment. We Bulk Bill all Medicare-eligible scans for pensions and health care card holders.