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Imaging and Radiology

Bone Density Test

Bone density testing at the hospitals of Methodist Health System in North Texas

What is bone density testing?

Bone density testing, or densitometry, is primarily used to detect osteopenia or osteoporosis, diseases in which the bones’ mineral content and density are low, increasing the risk for fractures.

Bone density testing uses a specialized form of X-ray testing called dual-energy X-ray absorptionometry (DXA or DEXA). The test is done much in the same way as a traditional X-ray, and is quick and painless. There are two types of DEXA devices. Central DEXA devices measure bone density in the hip and spine. Peripheral devices can measure bone density in the wrist, heel, or finger.

Who needs a bone density test?

Bone density testing is usually recommended for people at high risk for osteoporosis. You may be at risk if you:

  • Are a postmenopausal woman and are not taking estrogen
  • Are a current or former smoker
  • Have a family history of broken hips
  • Are a man with clinical conditions associated with bone loss
  • Take medicines that cause bone loss, such as prednisone, Dilantin, certain barbiturates, or high-dose thyroid replacement drugs
  • Have type 1 diabetes, liver disease, kidney disease, or a family history of osteoporosis
  • Have a thyroid condition such as hyperthyroidism

Take an osteoporosis risk assessment for women.
Take an osteoporosis quiz to learn more about the disease that thins and weakens a person's bones, making them less dense and more fragile.

Where is bone densitometry performed?

Bone densitometry is available by the order of a physician. For more information about bone density testing, call the numbers below:

Methodist Dallas Medical Center

Methodist Charlton Medical Center

Methodist Mansfield Medical Center

Methodist Richardson Medical Center

Osteoporosis patient education animation  

The topics and content presented in the animations were provided by an independent source and were not created, edited, or the accuracy confirmed by Methodist in any manner. They are for informational purposes only. They are not intended to be a substitute for medical advice and information provided by your health care provider. Any decision you make regarding your health care options should be made after consulting a qualified physician. 

Texas law prohibits hospitals from practicing medicine. The physicians on the Methodist Health System medical staff are independent practitioners who are not employees or agents of Methodist Health System, Methodist Dallas Medical Center, Methodist Charlton Medical Center, Methodist Mansfield Medical Center, Methodist Richardson Medical Center, or any other affiliated institution.

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