Bone densitometry, also called bone density scanning, is an enhanced form of X-ray technology that is used to measure bone loss. The test painlessly measures bone mineral density while the patient lies comfortably still on a padded table. The unit scans two or more areas, usually the fracture-prone hip and lower spine.
Bone densitometry is most often used to diagnose osteoporosis, a condition that often affects women after menopause but may also be found in men. Osteoporosis involves a gradual loss of calcium, as well as structural changes, causing the bones to become thinner, more fragile and more likely to break. The entire process takes only minutes to complete, depending on the number of sites scanned.
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