Bone Density Scan

Bone scans measure the amount of bone in a particular site of the body, usually the lower part of the spine, the hip, the forearm or the heel.

The amount of bone measured by a scanner is often called the ‘bone density’; the lower the density the higher the risk of fracture. The scans are used to help doctors assess the likelihood of bone fractures occurring in the future, and to decide whether treatment is necessary.

Bone Density Scan

What happens during a scan?

A scanning machine uses narrow beams of X-rays but some use ultrasound instead. It is important to note that the X-ray dose is very small, and significantly less than is required for a chest X-ray. You simply need to lie or sit for a few minutes while the scan is performed. This is a noninvasive and a pain free procedure.

How often should scans be done?

In most cases one scan is all that is required to assess bone density and future risk of fractures. Sometimes a second scan may be needed after two or three years if a new decision is needed about treatment.

Does low bone density mean I have osteoporosis?

Not necessarily, there are several conditions which can cause low bone density levels and may also cause fractures including:

  • Vitamin D deficiency (osteomalacia)
  • Over-activity of some glands
  • Some disorders of the intestine
  • Brittle bone disease (osteogenesis imperfecta), an inherited condition that mainly causes fractures in childhood

It is important to rule out these problems as they require different treatment to osteoporosis.

Factors which can increase risk of osteoporosis

  • Family history of osteoporosis
  • Insulin resistance
  • Polycystic ovaries
  • Irregular or absent periods
  • Early menopause
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Prolonged steroid use
  • Previous or current anorexia / low weight

Do I need a bone density scan?

If you are concerned about the risk of osteoporosis and/or are affected by one or more of the above risk factors please contact us to arrange a scan. Scans are performed in conjunction with the Guildford Nuffield Hospital, and include a consultant-written report with recommendations.



We can assess and treat all female health issues

At the Surrey Park Clinic we specialise in female health and well being. A bone density scan can help to evaluate your risk of osteoporosis
Please contact us on 01483 454 016 or complete our quick contact form: