Bone Mineral Density (BMD) testing, also referred to as a DEXA (or dual energy x-ray absorptiometry), is an x-ray procedure that measures the density of your bones. As we age, our bones naturally become thinner, less dense and more prone to injury. Early detection of the loss of bone mass is critical, as loss can often happen without any signs or symptoms until a fracture (break) of the bone occurs.
The results of BMD testing will help your doctor to determine the strength of your bones. A BMD test diagnoses osteoporosis (reduction in density of bone), shows the effectiveness of treatment for osteoporosis, and assesses the risk of developing fractures. The results are graphed and compared to a population at peak bone mass (young normal), as well a population that is matched to your age and gender.
When you arrive at MMI for your BMD test, you will be asked to complete a history form. You will then be required to lie still on an imaging table while an x-ray scanner passes slowly over you. We will measure the bone density in both your hip and lower spine. The amount of radiation used is minimal and is considered to be very safe.
MMI’s BMD department performs over 7 000 BMD examinations per year.
Please click here for an important notice.
Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) regulations stipulate that a routine (or low risk) BMD examinations must be a minimum of 3 years plus a day from a previous baseline (first) BMD, or 5 years plus a day from any second or subsequent BMD. A high risk BMD exam must be a minimum of one year plus a day from the previous BMD.
For a list of factors that may place someone in a “high risk” category please click here.
For more information, please refer to the list of BMD FAQs.
For osteoporosis resources, please visit Osteoporosis Canada.