What Is A Bone Density Scan?

Bone density scans are painless exams that help doctors determine if you have osteoporosis. While healthy bones are constantly removing weakened sections and replacing them with strong sections, bones affected by osteoporosis are weak and may break easily as a result of minor falls or even simple actions such as bumping into a chair. Bones affected by osteoporosis either make too little bone, lose too much bone, or both.

According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation , nine million Americans have osteoporosis, and another 48 million have low bone mass, which means that they are at a greater risk for osteoporosis. As the body ages, bone mass reduces. While anyone can develop osteoporosis, women are more likely to develop it than men. A bone density test can determine bone strength and bone mass, providing an opportunity to treat osteoporosis and low bone mass before a serious injury or bone fracture.

A bone density can be ordered by your physician. This study measures the amount of minerals packed into a segment of bone. The bones most commonly tested are the hip, spine, and forearm. If these scans show the possibility of low bone mass or the beginning stages of osteoporosis, your physician may wish for you to have a follow-up scan on the spine or hip to confirm the diagnosis.

More information about osteoporosis can be found at the website for the National Osteoporosis Foundation .

For additional information, read our article, “Three Reasons You Might Need A Bone Density Scan.”


  1. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
  2. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute –“What to Expect”

What Patients Say

Dr. Sachdeva is the most caring Doctor I have seen. She is amazing and provides good feedback on keeping the good balance between tablets, exercise and monitoring. She stresses on wellness rather than illness. She is very courteous and professional.

A Google User

I have been of patient of the North Raleigh Medical Center for almost 15 years. The staff always has been welcoming and accommodating. I enjoy the convenience of the walk-in clinic for my family’s needs. All the providers give comprehensive yet compassionate care.

A Google User