Bone Densitometry

What is Bone Densitometry?

Bone Densitometry scans use low energy x-ray to measure bone density. Two different energies are used to distinguish between bone and soft tissue.

Bone density can be measured in the lower spine, femur, the total body and the forearm. Bone Densitometry scans of the spine and hip are routinely used to diagnose osteoporosis and monitor the affects of osteoporosis treatment or other conditions that cause bone loss.

Total body scans can also separate soft tissue into fat, muscle and bone mineral. This is called body composition and is used to study how lean body mass and body fat change during health and disease.

Preparing for my Bone Densitometry Scan

  • If you have been referred for a BONE DENSITOMETRY scan by your doctor, please contact Radiology Bookings on (03) 9076 0357
  • Please inform the booking clerk if you have had a barium study, CT scan, MRI, angiogram or nuclear medicine examination recently. Your DXA will need to be scheduled 7 days after these examinations.

Before the Bone Densitometry Scan

  • You will be asked to fill out a questionnaire about your medical history and medications. This is for the examination and interpretation of the results.
  • You can eat and drink normally before your scan, but do not take any calcium supplements on the morning of your BONE DENSITOMETRY exam.
  • You will need to wear light comfortable clothing without buttons, metal zips, buckles or hooks around the waist and hip area. No under wire bras. For total body scan you will be asked to change into a hospital gown and remove all jewellery.

During the Bone Densitometry Scan

  • During the spine scan you will lie down on the padded table with your legs raised on a cushion. For the hip scan you will lie flat with one leg rotated slightly inward.

Other scans

  • Forearm scan - you will be asked to sit on a chair next to the table with your arm resting on the table.
  • For the total body scan you lay on the padded table with your hands flat on the table, a band is wrapped around your feet to keep your legs in position.
  • The detector will pass slowly over the area and send the images to a computer monitor. Each scan takes one minute to complete.
  • The radiographer stays in the room with you during the scan.
  • Your examination will take about 15-20 minutes, but this may vary. The radiographer will advise you on the day.

What do I do after the examination is finished?

  • The radiologist's report and your images are automatically forwarded to your doctor.
  • Return to your doctor to discuss the results


Cockburn Commercial Park
Unit 10/ No. 24 Discovery Drive
Bibra Lake, Western Australia, 6163.

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