A CT BMD bone density measurement is used to assess osteoporosis in the same way a cholesterol measurement is used for coronary heart disease or blood pressure for stroke. The data is used to measure an important risk factor and determine the necessity, choice and efficacy of therapy. The principle underlying CT BMD is that normal calcified bone will absorb more x-rays than surrounding tissue so that the CT density measurement can be used to measure total bone mass within a sample of tissue.
Preparing for the Procedure
Please bring your referral (letter from your doctor) and your Medicare and/or Pension Health care card with you to your appointment. It is important to bring all previous films relating to the region being imaged. Please ensure you are on time for your appointment to ensure there is sufficient time available to perform the procedure.
You do not need to fast and you are able to drive home following your examination.
Please inform the radiographer if you are or you suspect you may be pregnant.
The CT BMD examination is performed on our cutting edge CT Scanner takes approximately 5 minutes. An extremely low dose CT scan is performed of the upper lumbar vertebrae and the proximal femur.
The images are evaluated for bone mineral density and any related or incidental findings (vertebral compressions, kidney stones etc.) are noted in the report. The average bone density of the patient is then:
- Graphically compared to age and sex matched controls.
- Related to a fracture risk threshold below which most compression fractures occur.
- Categorised as to prevalence of fractures in a similar age group and bone density.
You may wait while the images are prepared and reported. You can also pick up the films and report at a later time. They can also be provided on CD or electronic transfer to your referring practitioner if requested.
We understand that some patients are anxious about having tests performed. If you do have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to ask our staff. Norwest Medical Imaging strongly advises that you return to your referring doctor, in order for your doctor to discuss your CT BMD report with you.
How is CT BMD / QCT different from other methods?
CT BMD and DEXA both measure bone density. Bone is a mixture of high-turnover trabecular (spongy) bone and slowly-changing cortical (compact) bone. Unfortunately DEXA measures both these two compartments and also incorrectly includes arterial calcification and bone spurs/osteophytes in the calculation of bone mineral density. Only CT BMD isolates the metabolically-active important trabecular bone for analysis. CT BMD is not only more accurate, it is also much quicker.
Can I have a CT BMD while pregnant or trying to conceive?
CT scanners use x-rays. As x-rays can be harmful to a developing foetus it is important to tell your doctor and our staff prior to the test, if you are or may be pregnant.
Can I have a CT BMD scan while breastfeeding?
You can continue to breastfeed as normal.
How long will the CT BMD scan take?
A CT BMD scan takes 5 minutes.
Can I eat and drive after a CT scan?
You have no restrictions after having a CT scan and can go about your normal activities.
Do I have to take my clothes off for my CT scan?
The radiographer may ask you to change into a gown if required.
Will the Radiographer performing my scan tell me what’s wrong?
The radiographer is not qualified to read your x-rays. It is the radiographer’s duty to perform the test and ensure the images are of high quality for the radiologist (specialist doctor) to interpret them.