Bone Mineral Density Scan

Bone Mineral Density Scan

Bone Density Scanning, also known as Dual-Energy X-Ray Absorptiometry (DEXA) or Bone Densitometry, is a safe low dose radiation X-ray technique used to accurately measure bone mineral density and measure bone loss. .

The scan involves no injections or invasive procedures and you will remain fully clothed during the BMD scan. During this examination, the patient lies comfortably while the bone density scanner scans over specific areas in the body. The hips and spine are generally scanned.

Osteoporosis is a disease in which the density and quality of bones are reduced. It occurs when bone loss is so severe it causes bone to become porous, brittle and likely to break or fracture. Osteoporosis leads to weakness of the bones and increased risk of fracture of bones especially of the spine,

hips and forearms. It is called the ‘silent disease’ as it does not produce symptoms until a fracture occurs after a minor accident or fall

Internationally, at least one in three women and one in five men over the age of 50 will suffer a fracture caused by weak bones.

Risk Factors

Osteoporosis mainly affects women after menopause but can also affect men.

The risk factors include:

  • Advancing age
  • Female gender
  • White or Asian ethnicity
  • Family history of osteoporosis
  • Low calcium / vitamin D intake
  • Smoking and or excessive use of alcohol
  • Low Body Mass Index
  • High Caffeine intake
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Amenorrhoea
  • Hyperparathyroidism
  • Hyper-Corticism
  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Hypogonadism
  • Corticosteroid use
  • Anti-Convulsant use
  • Thyroxine use
  • Heparin use
  • Malabsorption syndromes
  • Anorexia Nervosa


A Bone Mineral Density Scan (BMD) assists your health care provider to diagnose Osteoporosis in a safe, simple and painless manner. The diagnosis and treatment of Osteoporosis begins with an objective measurement of your current bone status. A Bone Mineral Density Scan determines whether one is at high, increased or low risk of fracturing a bone. The BMD Scan is a painless and comfortable examination that takes 20minutes.

Preparing for a Bone Mineral Density Scan

  • Eat normally on the day of your exam.
  • Avoid taking calcium supplements on the day of the exam.
  • Wear comfortable clothing. You will be given a clean gown to change into prior to your BMD scan.
  • You should not have had a Barium Study, Radio-Isotope injection, intravenous contrast media or dye within 5 days prior to your BMD scan.
  • You will be given a questionnaire to complete prior to having your BMD scan.

How long will my results take?

  • The scan takes 20 minutes. The radiographer remains in the room with you throughout the scan.
  • The scan printout will be given to you at the completion of your scan, please give this to your referring doctor at your next consultation.
  • The Radiological report of the Bone Mineral Density Scan will be sent to your doctor via e-mail on the day of the scan.

Just For Women
T Medical Centre 2nd Floor
22 Hopelands Road Overport
Tel: 087 310 4990

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