Interpreting Your Bone Density Scan


Example of Bone Densitometry Scan Result

Interpreting Your Bone Densitometry Scan

A Bone Densitometry Scan is a medical test and x-ray and therefore in order for the Practitioner taking your scan to assess whether a scan is justified in your case, she will need to take some medical and family history details. 

The scan result (as seen above) is divided into four main areas: 

1. Your personal information 

At the bottom of the scan you will see information about your name, age, height, weight, gender and possibly your age at menopause. This information is used to calculate the normal bone density expected for you, and for comparison with any future scans you might have.

2. The image of the area scanned 

At the top left hand corner of the scan is the image of the scanned area of your forearm. This is mapped out using very specific boundaries in order to allow accurate calculation of your result and for direct comparison if you attend in the future for a rescan.

3. The graph 

At the top right hand corner of the scan is the graph, divided into different coloured bands. The small white square shows your result.

4. The table 

In the middle of the scan page is a table of numbers. This table provides a reading for the areas marked by the horizontal white lines on the image of the area scanned. The table provides information on how your bone mineral density compares to a young adult and to another person of the same sex, ethnic group and age as yourself. It provides percentage readings and also readings known as T and Z scores.

Further Guidance 

The bone mineral density scan reflects the bone mineral density of your bones now. It does not give an indication of how rapidly mineral density is being lost. Bone mineral loss is part of the normal ageing process, but some people lose this more rapidly than others. If this is your first scan it is a useful baseline measurement from which to compare future scans, usually recommended every three years, except in the case of an osteoporosis result, in which case you will be referred (with your consent) to your General Practitioner for further tests and management.

Whatever the result, it is good practice to consult your GP to discuss your results.


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