Bone Mineral Density (BMD) Test Defined:

A bone mineral density test is a reliable, non-invasive and painless test to measure the density, or thickness, of your bones. The test measures the amount of mineral (calcium) in a specific area of bone. Greater amounts of bone mineral indicate greater bone density or bone mass.

BMD Benefits:

  • BMD scanning is painless, non-invasive and accurate.
  • Detecting osteoporosis before a fracture occurs is an effective form of preventive medicine.
  • Predicting the potential for future fractures allows patients to make important lifestyle changes that will decrease their risk of injury.
  • Monitoring the effectiveness of treatments for osteoporosis allows your doctor to better assess his treatment strategies.

BMD Test Candidates:

Bone mineral density testing is recommended for the following individuals:

  • All women age 65 or older regardless of risk factors
  • Postmenopausal women under age 65 who have one or more risk factors for osteoporosis
  • Postmenopausal women who have a current and/ or previous fracture with minimal trauma
  • Adults (including postmenopausal women, pre menopausal women and men) on steroid medications for more than three months
  • Men with a current/previous fracture or a major risk factor for osteoporosis such as lowtestosterone, alcoholism, or any other secondary cause of osteoporosis

The BMD Experience:

The standardized method for measuring bone density is dual energy X-ray absorptiometry (DEXA) of the hip and spine. It is a quick and easy test. It is not necessary to undress as long as you have no buttons, zippers or snaps on your clothing from your chest to your thigh. You simply lie on a table while a fast, painless low-dose X-ray is taken. Nothing is injected or swallowed.


Metal and electronic devices such as watches, jewelry, cellular phones, and credit cards must be removed before the exam. Inform the technologist if you have had a recent radiology procedure for which you received an injection or ingested barium.