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Osteoporosis Detection from Advanced Diagnostics at St. Joseph’s/Candler

Osteoporosis gradually weakens bones, causing them to become brittle and prone to fractures, which can inhibit your mobility and independence.

It is estimated that at age 50, a woman has nearly a 40% chance of developing an osteoporotic fracture during her remaining lifetime. A woman's lifetime risk of hip fracture alone is equal to the combined risk of developing breast, uterine and ovarian cancer.

Early detection is the best way to protect yourself from its debilitating effects. To learn if you have osteoporosis or osteopenia (when your bone density is lower than normal but not low enough to be osteoporotic), a machine can measure your bone density. The machine used at St. Joseph’s/Candler imaging centers is called dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry, or DEXA.

About DEXA scans

Bone density measurement will determine your bone mineral deposit (BMD) for the areas measured and compare that result with the average BMD of the same age, race and sex, as well as someone with peak bone mineral density, which is typically a 30-year-old of the same race and sex.

The areas of the body measured during a DEXA scan are the non-dominant hip (cancellous bone) and lower lumbar spine (cortical bone). If there’s been a hip replacement, the dominant hip will be measured, and if both hips have been replaced, the forearm can be used.

A DEXA scan is a simple, safe, non-invasive and painless X-ray. It can be as short as a couple of minutes up to 20 minutes.

Bone density screening is available at the Telfair Pavilion at Candler Hospital, SJ/C Imaging Center – Pooler, SJ/C Imaging Center – Bluffton and Telfair Breast Imaging Center – Eisenhower. A physician’s referral is required for testing.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the risk factors for osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis, a medical condition that usually causes bones to be more fragile due to bone tissue loss, usually is affected by the following risk factors

  • Caucasian race or Asian ethnicity
  • Thin or small build
  • Family history of osteoporosis
  • Early menopause (before age 45)
  • Smoking history
  • Inactive lifestyle
  • Excessive alcohol use  
  • Chronic use of certain medications

Is a bone density measurement the same as a bone scan?

No. A bone scan identifies bone infections, inflammation and cancer. A bone scan requires an injection of radioactive material. A bone density measurement requires no special preparation, medication or injection.

How long does the test take?

Depending on the equipment, a measurement takes 5 to 20 minutes. Please allow an hour for your appointment to include time for registration and relevant health history review.

To how much radiation will I be exposed?

You will be exposed to very little radiation--usually less than a standard chest X-ray. As with any medical procedure, tell your doctor if you are or could be pregnant.

What should I wear?

Wear comfortable clothing, preferably something without metal buttons, buckles or zippers.

Contact Us with Questions or for More Information

Please call our specialists at 912-819-7000 with any questions or concerns about these comprehensive services for women of all ages.

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