RisksBy Mayo Clinic staff
Limitations of bone density testing include:
- Differences in testing methods. Central devices, which measure the density of your spinal and hip bones, are more accurate, but cost significantly more than do peripheral devices, which measure density in the forearm, finger or heel bone.
- Might not be covered by insurance. Not all health insurance plans pay for bone density tests, so ask your insurance provider beforehand if you're covered.
- Doesn't identify the cause. A bone density test can confirm that you have low bone density, but it can't tell you why. To answer that question, you need a more complete medical evaluation.
- Osteoporosis: The diagnosis. NIH Osteoporosis and Related Bone Diseases National Resource Center. http://www.niams.nih.gov/Health_Info/Bone/Osteoporosis/diagnosis.asp. Accessed Aug. 5, 2011.
- Bone density scan. Radiological Society of North America. http://www.radiologyinfo.org/en/info.cfm?pg=dexa. Accessed Aug. 5, 2011.
- Lewiecki EM. Overview of dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed Aug. 5, 2011.
- Diagnosis and treatment of osteoporosis. Bloomington, Minn.: Institute for Clinical Systems Improvement. http://www.icsi.org/guidelines_and_more/gl_os_prot/womens_health/osteoporosis/osteoporosis__diagnosis_and_treatment_of_.html. Accessed Aug. 11, 2011.
- Kleerekoper M. Screening for osteoporosis. http://uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed Aug. 11, 2011.
- Bone mass measurement: What the numbers mean. NIH Osteoporosis and Related Bone Diseases National Resource Center. http://www.niams.nih.gov/Health_Info/Bone/Bone_Health/bone_mass_measure.asp. Accessed Aug. 11, 2011.