Bone mineral densitometry (BMD or DEXA) scanning is primarily used to diagnose osteoporosis and it can also be used to assess the response to any treatments for osteoporosis.

Osteoporosis is a common condition, resulting in a reduction in the strength of your bones, which in turn increases the risk of fracturing a bone in your body.

You might be referred for this test if you have:

  • A chronic medical condition or take medications that could weaken your bones
  • Had a recent fracture after a minor injury or fall
  • Had imaging such as an x-ray which has indicated signs of a low bone density

Osteoporosis, in the absence of a fracture, has no symptoms.  Several medical conditions and medications can increase the amount of bone loss which occurs throughout your lifetime.  Osteoporosis is not gender specific and the risk of you being diagnosed increases with age.

Having this condition can make you susceptible to fractures after sustaining even a minor injury.  These fractures may not have ordinarily occurred in a person with a normal bone density and could be prevented if treatment is commenced early enough.

Bone mineral densitometry measures the bone mineral content present in various areas of your body.

The results collected demonstrate whether you have:

  • A normal bone density

  • If you have lost a small amount of bone – osteopenia;

  • If you have lost a more significant amount of bone – osteoporosis.

This information gives your doctor an indication of your fracture-risk, assists in monitoring bone loss over time and assists them with planning any required preventative therapy or medical treatment.

During the examination, you will be resting comfortably on your back on a padded table. An x-ray generator will be below you and a narrow detector arm will pass above your body.

The examination is painless and quick.  The machine will make a slight noise as the low dose x-rays are taken of your lumbar spine, hips and forearms. It is important you keep as still as possible during the examination.

No preparation is required for bone mineral densitometry.

Please arrive 15 minutes prior to your scheduled appointment time to complete any relevant paperwork.

For your comfort during the examination, we recommend you remove any jewellery from your body and that you wear loose fitting clothing without metal buttons, buckles, fasteners or zippers, as metal objects interfere with the images. A gown will be provided if clothing needs to be removed.

If you have previously undergone bone mineral densitometry with another imaging company, we will require records of when and where this was performed due to strict Medicare bulk billing criteria.

  • Your original referral or request form
  • Medicare and any Government concession pension or health care cards
  • Previous relevant imaging

You will receive a low dose of x-ray radiation.

Please advise the imaging technologist if you are or think you may be pregnant.

Please allow approximately 15-20 minutes. 

Bone mineral density is available at the following locations: