To help prevent osteoporosis and spinal injuries attributed to it, assessing a patient’s risk factors is the first step. The next step is to conduct a Bone Density Test, aka a Bone Mineral Density Test, or BMD. The test measures a patient’s bone mass. The BMD is not only the most innovative test for assessing bone mass; it’s quick, easy, and painless!
Reasons for a Bone Density Test
Certain situations would be a cause for BMD studies to be ordered for a patient. A situation that calls for a BMD study include the following:
- Women over the age of 65
- Women under the age of 65 and postmenopausal, who also have risk factors
- Abnormalities seen in spinal X-rays
- Long-term use of oral steroids
- Has Hypothyroidism (an over-active parathyroid gland)
If it has been determined that you’d benefit from a Bone Density Test, your doctor will order a specific scan, called a DEXA scan. The bone scan requires the use of a small amount of radiation. However, it’s only a fraction of the amount of radiation compared to something like an X-ray. Your doctor will order the test when they know the benefits of the scan outweigh the risks.
The Dual Energy X-ray Absorption Scan, or (DEXA Scan), is the premier bone density test. During the scan, the low level of radiation passes through the bone, typically the hip bone and lower lumbar spine, to determine if the patient has high bone density, low bone density, or osteoporosis.
Does insurance cover bone density scans?
Medicare. Medicare covers DEXA Scans for women over 65. It may also cover follow-up scans done every two years. Other situations where Medicare may cover a bone scan include:
– Women under 65 years of age but have a high risk of osteoporosis
– Men who are at greater risk of osteoporosis
Private insurances. Private insurances vary in their coverage of DEXA Scans. Many will cover them as part of screening but usually depends on the patient’s risk factors for osteoporosis. For patients without insurance, the cost of a DEXA Scan is around $350.
About the results of the scan
Your doctor uses the scan results, along with an exam and history, to determine if the patient has, such as:
Osteopenia – the beginnings of osteoporosis.
Osteoporosis – as a primary or secondary problem.
In fact, determining which, is crucial for treatment.
Whether or not you should have a bone density test is something to discuss with your doctor, though. If you are at a high risk of developing osteoporosis, doctors often encourage their patients to have one. So, the importance of being proactive in preventing osteoporosis starts with getting a bone density scan. Preventative measures and treatment for osteoporosis are personalized to your situation. Therefore, giving you the best chance of bone-strengthening and bone break-prevention.
Also, see: What you Should Avoid for Healthy Bones
So, if you suspect you might need a bone density scan, call us at 888-409-8006. Our top orthopedic specialists are here to help!