Measurement of bone mass by densitometry has become central to the diagnosis of osteoporosis and instituting preventative treatment. Currently it is estimated that less than 5% of patients at risk for osteoporotic fractures of the spine and hip are diagnosed and treated. With increased availability of accurate bone density testing, diagnosis of osteoporosis early will allow for earlier treatment, resulting in reduced fracture risk.
Dual-Energy X-Ray Absorptometry (DEXA) is the primary mode of bone densitometry .
DEXA scanning is a simple, painless test, performed while lying down on the table of the unit. Determinations are made in the lumbar spine, hip and occasionally the forearm. The length of the exam is 10-15 minutes.
Indications to refer patients for bone densitometry testing include:
- Diagnose osteoporosis-even in its earliest stages
- Estimate risk of future fractures
- Monitor efficacy of drug therapy on bone density
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