by Annette Pinder

Loss of bone strength due to aging, menopause, and some medical conditions can cause osteopenia or osteoporosis, conditions which increase your risk of bone fractures. According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, nearly 55 percent of people older than 50 are at risk for osteoporosis.

It is important to evaluate your risk for these conditions through bone densitometry imaging. Such imaging provides the most accurate evaluation of your bone mass. Physicians at Great Lakes Medical Imaging (GLMI), and at The American Congress of Obstetrics and Gynecology recommend that women older than age 40 undergo a baseline bone densitometry exam.

To stress the importance of bone densitometry and prevent women from the risk of bone fractures, Dr. Jason Pericak, Chief of Women’s Imaging Services for GLMI, offers answers to commonly asked questions.

What is bone densitometry? Bone densitometry is an enhanced form of x-ray technology that measures bone mineral density. The non-invasive procedure, which does not require contrast materials, captures images of the inside of your body. Once these images are captured, radiologists review the images and create a report for your general physician.

What will I experience during a bone densitometry? Bone densitometry is a very short and easy procedure, during which you will be asked to lie down on the scanning table, where the arm of the machine will hover over, but not touch, your body. You will be asked to remain still for the duration of the procedure, which lasts approximately three minutes, and be able to communicate with the technologist the entire time.

What else do I need to know before bone densitometry? Please bring any relevant films and reports from previous exams, wear loose, comfortable clothing that does not contain metal or zippers, and do not wear jewelry. Prior to scheduling your exam, let the staff know if you are pregnant or breast-feeding, have recently suffered a hip or back injury, and if you are left-handed. You should empty your bladder before the exam, unless otherwise instructed by your doctor, and eat and drink as you normally would leading up to the exam. You should not take any calcium supplements for 48 hours prior to the scheduled exam and should not take any medications for osteoporosis or osteopenia on the day of your exam.

Dr. Pericak explains, “Bone densitometry is an easy, quick but useful 5 to 10-minute exam that is like an x-ray and measures the density of your bones. A bone density exam measures the calcium content usually in your lower back and hips. If your bone density is low, it can lead to an increased risk for fractures. If this is the case, your physician may proactively be able to treat you with certain medications to reduce this risk.”
To schedule a bone densitometry exam online, visit GLMI at You can also call 716-836-4646 to make an appointment. Learn more at