Medical Imaging: Bone Mineral Density (BMD) Testing - What To Expect

What will happen at my appointment?

When you arrive at your appointment, please register at the Nuclear Medicine registration area, Zone B, Level 5, Room B5-204. You will be asked to complete a brief questionnaire and the technologist will measure your height and weight prior to the test.

You may be asked to change into a hospital gown to improve the exam process and imaging outcomes.

When you are called into the BMD room, you will be asked to lie on your back on a padded table with your legs straight or with your lower legs resting on a padded platform. The table will be moved into position in the scanner and the technician will move to their control station to perform the test.

Testing using the BMD machine

The BMD machine uses very low levels of radiation and moves over you to scan specific bones, usually the lower spine and hip although other areas may also be scanned. The amount of radiation absorbed by the bone, which is measured using the DEXA or DXA technique (dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry), gives the technician the measure of your bone density.

The test takes only a few minutes.  When the test is complete, the table will be lowered so you can transfer to the floor. You can change into your regular clothes and leave the department.

Follow-up BMDs, if required, are generally scheduled 12, 36, or 60 months apart. If you require a follow-up BMD, your physician or specialist will submit a request to the medical imaging department for an appointment.