Bone Mineral Densitometry (BMD)

Bone density scans are an enhanced form of x-ray technology that is used to measure bone loss. This scan is often referred to as a DEXA scan or a BMD scan and is used to indicate the strength of your bones and the likelihood you may have in having a fragility fracture (break).

The most common used method is a type of X ray called dual energy x-ray absorptiometry and this scans the bones in the lower spine and hip, two of the main areas where fragility fractures mainly occur.

Bone Densitometry scanning (BMD) is used to diagnose osteoporosis in both men and women. It is a safe, painless, and cost- effective method to measure the bone mass or bone density.

You may be referred for a bone density scan if:

  • you have easily broken a bone
  • you have symptoms of spinal fractures
  • you have risk factors for osteoporosis and broken bones
  • your doctor needs to reassess your bone health and risk of breaking a bone, such as at a medication review.


This is called an ‘axial’ or ‘central’ scan and uses a low radiation dose, which is similar to natural background radiation – less than one tenth of the dosage of a chest x-ray and equivalent to a transatlantic flight.

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