Bone Density Examination - Clearing Up Some Misconceptions

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We find in our practice that most patients do not know much about bone density examination. Therefore, it seems appropriate to explain some of the details of the examination.

First of all, the test is simple, painless and non-invasive. The person does need to lie flat on their back on the examination table and be very quiet for several minutes at a time.

The procedure uses a very small amount of radiation. It is very safe, however, and only 1/10th the amount of x-ray exposure that a person would get from a simple chest x-ray.

Patients are usually surprised to find out that they do not need to undress for the bone density examination if their clothing contains no metal. This would include zippers, snaps, wires, metal buttons, rivets, etc. Jewelry should not be worn.

Bone density examination should be delayed for one week after having any x-ray test done in the x-ray department where a contrast was used, including barium or the various dye substances injected into the veins or spinal fluid.

Overall, it is one of the easiest tests for patients to have and there should be no concern about undergoing this test.