Bone Mineral Densitometry

The spine and hip are the main areas that are scanned. You will be required to lie comfortably on your back on the scanner table. You will hear a humming noise when the scanner moves above you.


There will be no discomfort and no breath hold is required. However, it is important to remain as still as possible for the examination.

What Will OHIP Cover

  • OHIP covers annual BMD tests for individuals at high risk for osteoporosis and future fractures.
  • Individuals at low risk are eligible for a baseline BMD test and a second BMD test 36 months after the baseline. The third and subsequent BMD tests for low-risk individuals are insured by OHIP once every 60 months.

Ohip guidelines for when to order BMD examinations can be found at:

Bone Mineral Densitometry, also called dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry or DEXA, uses a very small dose of ionizing radiation to produce pictures of the inside of the body (usually the lower spine and hips) to measure bone loss. It is commonly used to diagnose osteoporosis and to assess an individual’s risk for developing fractures. DEXA is simple, quick and non-invasive. It’s also the most accurate method for diagnosing osteoporosis

What Do I Need To Prepare?

  • Please do not take any calcium supplements the day of the study.
  • If you have had DYE INJECTED, NUCLEAR MEDICINE or BARIUM TESTS in the past two (2) weeks, please reschedule your appointment.
  • We will also ask you to remove any naval rings before the examination.


You will be asked to fill out a questionnaire prior to the examination pertinent to the study.

The examination consists of the patient lying on a padded table with a device that travels the length of the area being imaged. The Technologist will scan both your lumbar spine, hip and in some circumstances the forearm. Patients exceeding 300 lbs. cannot have their lumbar spine or hip performed due to table restrictions. In this situation, our machines are able to perform a bone density study of the forearm.

This procedure lasts for approximately 30 minutes. Our Radiologist will read the test and a report will be sent to your physician(s).

There are no after effects. The patient can resume their daily routine.