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Bone Densitometry Test & Examinations

Preparation
Scheduling and Directions

Your healthcare provider may order a bone mineral density test, sometimes called a bone densitometry test or a DXA scan, to help confirm a diagnosis of osteoporosis. DeKalb Medical also offers bone densitometry examinations in Atlanta to follow bone changes and monitor the effects of age, diet or treatments of your bone status.

Osteoporosis is the most common type of bone disease and occurs when the body fails to form enough new bone, when too much old bone is reabsorbed by the body, or both. This thinning of bone tissue and loss of bone density over time is a skeletal disease that affects men and women as it weakens the bones, making them brittle and more susceptible to fractures. Any bone in the body can be affected by osteoporosis, but the most common place for fractures are in the back, hips and wrist.

Unfortunately, most people do not realize they have osteoporosis until a bone fracture occurs. Early diagnosis using bone densitometry examinations and treatment may help to lessen the risk of broken bones. Those at risk for developing osteoporosis include:

  • Women with a small, thin frame.
  • Individuals who do little or no exercise.
  • Individuals with an inadequate consumption of calcium.
  • Women who are postmenopausal.
  • Those who have a family history of osteoporosis.
  • Those who smoke or abuse alcohol.
  • Women, especially Caucasian women.
  • Those with an eating disorder.
  • Those taking certain medications such as steroids or anticonvulsants.
  • Those older in age.

If your bone densitometry test in Atlanta at DeKalb Medical shows that you have osteoporosis, medications are available that can help minimize bone loss. Your physician will determine your treatment plan according to your health history. It always is recommended that you continue to exercise, get plenty of calcium and limit use of alcohol and cigarettes.

Preparing for Your Bone Densitometry Examinations

There is no preparation for a bone densitometry test. You can follow your normal daily diet and routine before having your bone densitometry test. You will need to remove any jewelry before the test and let the technologist know if you may be pregnant. In most cases, you won’t be asked to undress.

Once in the room, you will be asked to lie on a table while a scanner arm passes over you. While you are being scanned, the amounts of bone mineral in your spine and hips are measured. This gives a calculation known as a T-Score, which your doctor will use to make your diagnosis. Bone densitometry examinations take approximately 15 minutes. You will be able to resume all normal activity following your bone densitometry test.

Scheduling and Directions

Your bone densitometry can be scheduled in one of two ways. Your physician can contact DeKalb Medical to schedule your bone densitometry test for you. Or, your physician can send DeKalb Medical his or her orders for the test and you can schedule your own bone densitometry when we have received your doctor’s orders. To schedule your bone densitometry, call 404.501.2660.

If your bone densitometry is being performed at the Diagnostic Breast Center at DeKalb Medical at North Decatur, go to the 2665 Professional Building.

  • From North Decatur Road, enter the hospital campus via Wash Lively Road.
  • At road end, turn right.
  • At stop sign, turn left and park in the Visitor/Patient parking deck.
  • In the parking deck, use elevators A or E or take the stairs to Level 1.
  • Cross the street and proceed to the front entrance of the 2665 Professional Building.
  • Upon entering the building, the Diagnostic Breast Center entrance is on your left.

If your bone densitometry test is at the Breast Center at DeKalb Medical at Hillandale, go to the 5900 Professional Building.

  • Park in the hospital parking lot near the Professional Buildings.
  • The Breast Center is in the 5900 Professional Building.
  • When you enter the 5900 building proceed to the registration desk.

2701 North Decatur Road Decatur, GA 30033
404.501.1000
Patient Inquiries: 404.501.5200

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