Bone Density Scan

A bone density scan, also known as a dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DEXA) scan, measures your bone strength. You can trust the radiology technicians and doctors at Essentia Health to conduct your test using the latest technology and accurately analyze the results.

Who Needs a Bone Density Test?

If you’re older than 50 and/or you’ve recently broken a bone, your health care provider may recommend that you get a bone density scan.

A bone density scan can help your doctor diagnose osteoporosis, which is a health condition that causes fragile bones. It can also be used to check for other bone problems and estimate your risk of bone fractures.

What to Expect During a Bone Density Scan

Your bone density scan will take only 10 to 30 minutes. You’ll lie on a cushioned table and a mechanical arm will pass a thin, invisible beam of safe, low-dose x-rays over your body. Your bone scan is a noninvasive test that won’t cause pain. You’ll be awake the entire time, and you’ll be able to go home right away afterward.

Bone Density Test Scores

Rely on the expert radiologists at Essentia to analyze your test results promptly and send them to your primary care or referring physician. Your doctor will talk to you about the results of the test which will include a T-score and Z-score.

How to Read Your T-Score

A T-score is the amount of bone you have compared to a young adult of the same sex who has optimum bone mass. The lower your score, the lower your bone density. If you have a T-score:

  • Above -1 – Your bone density is normal
  • Between -1 and -2.5 – You have low bone mass, or osteopenia
  • Below -2.5 – You have osteoporosis

How to Read Your Z-Score

Your Z-score shows the amount of bone you have compared to people of the same age, body size, and sex. If your score is much higher or lower than the average, your doctor may recommend that you get more tests.

Improve Your Bone Health

Knowing the results of your bone density scan can help you make informed choices about your health. Learn more about preventing broken bones and staying healthy.

If you’ve broken a bone, physical therapy can help improve your strength and range of motion.