Bone Mineral Densitometry

What is Bone Mineral Densitometry?

This procedure is an examination that uses a special machine to scan the lower spine and one of the hips, to assess for possible osteoporosis or reduced bone density.

During the procedure, you will lie on a table while a narrow “arm” passes over you.

There is no feeling of claustrophobia and no injections are necessary.

The procedure is performed by a Radiographer (a technologist trained in medical imaging) and is reported by a Radiologist (a doctor who specialises in medical imaging).

If you have had any previous Bone Mineral Densitometry Studies, it is important to bring these with you. This scan is much more precise than the chemist “heel test” as it gives accurate measurements, enabling comparison to previous studies and response to treatment and management options. It also measures the density in the bones most at risk of fracture. The radiation dose is equivalent to normal daily background radiation.


No specific preparation is necessary for this examination. The examination should not be performed within 72 hours following a CT or Nuclear Medicine Bone Scan, or within one week following a Barium Study (Barium Meal, Small Bowel Barium Follow-through or Barium Enema). Any previous x-rays should be brought to the examination as these may help in the interpretation of results.

Examination Time

The examination will take approximately 30-40 minutes to complete.


You will be asked to change into a gown, and only cotton underpants should be worn to remove the possibility of confusing shadows. The Radiographer will assist in positioning you on the scan table. There is no need to hold your breath, however it is important to remain as still as possible throughout the examination. The Radiographer will remain in the room during the examination and can be spoken to throughout. Following the examination, the information obtained is processed by computer and reported by the Radiologist.