Bone Density Test

Your doctor has suggested you have a bone density test as part of the evaluation at National Jewish. A bone density test is a type of x-ray. During the test images are taken of your lower back (spine), hip, and forearm. A bone density test will show how dense these bones are. When a person has osteoporosis, the bone is not as dense and therefore is weaker than it should be. A bone density test can help determine a diagnosis early, before a person has a bone fracture and can help determine the effects of treatment.

Preparing for the Test

  • Wear loose fitting clothing. Avoid clothing that has metal or other clothing fasteners like buttons or zippers over the areas to be measured. You can be given a gown to wear if this is not possible.
  • Avoid having any barium studies done 2 to 3 days before the bone density test.

During the Test

The bone density test does not hurt. The radiology technologist will explain the test to you before you start. Ask questions if you don't understand. Before the study you/your child will need to remove clothing that has metal or other clothing fasteners like buttons or zippers over the areas to be measured. You will be given a hospital gown and/or pajama bottoms to wear if this is not possible.

You will lie on an imaging table. The bone density machine will scan your lower back, hip, and forearm. You/your child will need to hold still during each scan.

Length of the Test

The bone density test will take about 15 minutes. Each scan takes several minutes.

Day of the Test

Your appointment is in the Institute for Advanced Biomedical Imaging (Radiology). You will be directed where to go when you check-in. If you have any questions you can contact Advanced Biomedical Imaging (Radiology) at 303.398.1611.

Get directions to and see a campus map of National Jewish Health.


This information has been approved by Will Cook, R.T., M.A. (August 2008).

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If you have questions, or will not be able to make your appointment, please call: 303.398.1611.

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