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What is Involved in a Bone Density Scan?

hip xray

Bone density scans are integral medical procedures that most people should undergo as they age. As common as these tests are, some patients find themselves ill-prepared for them, as they’re not sure what is actually involved in a bone density CT scan. 

Here, Craft Body Scan will walk you through full preparation before a bone density test, as well as what to expect during and after the process itself. This way, you can go to your bone density CT scan appointment with full confidence and reassurance. 

What is a bone density scan?

Before we talk about the actual preparation necessary before a bone density test, let’s talk about what these scans are in the first place. 

A bone density test is a low-dose CT scan that doctors typically use to determine whether or not you have osteoporosis or signs of it. These tests analyze the density of your bones to see how fragile they are, your calcium levels, and how likely they are to break during an accident. You may also get one of these scans to help monitor how successful your osteoporosis treatment is and whether or not you should try something different. 

At Craft Body Scan, we can only offer bone density tests alongside our full-body scans

You may test various bones during a bone density CT scan, but most analyze places like the spine, hips, and even arms. 

As you age, your body becomes more at-risk for fractures and breaks. Thus, you want to make sure to start getting CT scans starting around age 65 if you’re a woman, and age 70 if you’re a man. This way, you can keep a close eye on the mineral levels in your bones and whether or not you need treatment or support. 

Those who are between the ages of 50 and 70 with risk factors for bone loss should also schedule one of these scans. These types of risk factors include alcohol consumption, smoking, rheumatoid arthritis, previously broken bones, and even those with comparably low body weight. 

Preparation Before Bone Density Test 

Thankfully, bone density CT scans are quick, easy, and painless. You don’t have to prepare at all for your test in terms of diet.

Wondering what to wear for a bone density test? You cannot wear any metal jewelry or have metal in your clothing during a CT scan. Thus, make sure you take out any piercings or avoid wearing belts, pants with buttons, or anything of the like. Women should avoid wearing bras with underwires, as well. Sports bras are best in this situation. 

How Long Does a Bone Density Scan Take?

A CT bone density test does not take long! The scan itself usually takes less than ten minutes, never longer than 30. The appointment will likely be incredibly quick, especially if you have paperwork and information filled out beforehand. 

How Does the Scan Work? 


When you get a bone density CT scan, you’ll start by laying on a padded table. Again, you have to make sure you aren’t wearing any clothing with metal or have non-surgical grade metal in the body. From here, you will lay still while the machine scans you and certain parts of your body. During this time, you cannot make any sudden movements or it will disturb the imaging. 

If you’re getting your scan done at CBS, you will be undergoing a full-body scan at the time of your density test. The machine will screen your entire body, searching for any abnormalities that may appear.

Once the scanner has the information it needs, it will transfer the bone density data into readable images and graphs. From here, our team of board-certified radiologists will be able to see just how dense or fragile bone is throughout the patient’s body. 

How Soon Are CT Scan Results Available? 

How long it takes for CT scan results does depend on where you get the scan done. The CT technologist will share their findings with the radiologist, and the radiologist and their team will also review the scans. Once they’ve been compiled, they’ll send the images back to CBS where one of our experts reviews the results. 

If they find an abnormality, the physician will contact the patient to review the results and make sure they have a good understanding of what their next steps are. We send results in ten business days or less. 

At Craft Body Scan, we will only give you a call about your full-body scan results if we find something abnormal. If you don’t get a call from us, then you know that everything is operating as it should.

How Often Should I Have a Bone Density Scan?

Now, you may be wondering, how often should I have a bone density scan? Well, if you’re someone who is at risk for osteoporosis or are currently taking medication for it, you should undergo a scan every year. When you do this, you stay on top of any potential bone density loss.

If you don’t have osteoporosis, you should still get bone density CT scans done every two years or so as you age. As we mentioned at the beginning, women should start getting these scans at 65, while men should start at 70.


You can also find out more about our bone density scans through this link:

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