Sample Bone Density & Body Composition Reports
You'll profit more from your bone density tests if you're familiar with the test reports. Make sure that both you and your primary-care physician get a complete report, not just a one-page summary (The reports typically have four or more pages. The detailed information and photos can also be helpful for other medical professionals you may see such as orthopedists, endocrinologists, chiropractors and physical therapists. Make copies for them. The more concrete information they have about you, the better able they are to care for you.
My book will help you understand the terminology and results on the reports.
There are two good methods of measuring the bone density of the spine and hip. The most common way is with DXA technology (dual energy x-ray absorptiometry). It can also measure the densities of the entire skeleton and provide x-ray-type images. The radiation exposure is minimal— less than 1/10 of a chest X-ray (sometimes described as the same amount of radiation as you might get during an international flight). The two primary companies that produce densitometers are GE Healthcare and Hologic. Click on their names below to see example pages from their reports.
Some densitometers have a software tool called TBS Insight which provides information on the trabecular bone structure of the spine (trabecular bone is the porous inner component of bone with a lattice structure that resembles a sponge) and provides a trabecular bone score (TBS), which indicates the relative strength of the spine. Densitometers with the TBS insight software are able to add a TBS report page to the bone density report. Click on the link below for more information about the trabecular bone score and a GE and Hologic sample TBS spine report.
Some test centers include an extra page with their bone density reports . Cortical bone is a dense outer layer of bone. The vertebrae are composed mainly of trabecular bone
Densitometers can also fat and lean body mass. As a result they are being used for weight management, sports medicine and wellness assessments. Their body composition software enables clinicians and patients to understand how diet, lifestyle and exercise impact overall health and performance. Examples of report pages and body composition imaging can be found by clicking on the two links below:
Another method of measuring the bone density of the spine and hips is quantitative computed tomography (QCT). Using a CT scanner, it not only indicates bone density and provides DXA-like analyzes of the hips, it also shows the thickness of the outer compact and inner spongy-like layers of bone (cortical and trabecular bone). This makes it easier to estimate bone quality and strength.
In recent years, many positive changes have occurred with QCT technology.
* QCT now can do a "no-dose" bone dose exam retrospectively from previous CT scans of the spine and pelvis or from a CT colonography.
* Prices of QCT have decreased and are comparable to those of DXA bone density tests.
* Like DXA exams, QCT bone density exams are usually reimbursed by Medicare every two years for people who meet Medicare criteria.
* The QCT can produce hip measurements that are like those of DXA scanners. However, QCT is likely to detect low bone mass in the spine earlier because QCT measures the interior bone, which is affected earlier that of the outer cortical bone. QCT can avoid the artificially high BMD measurements that can affect DXA due to obesity, disc space narrowing, spinal degenerative diseases, aortic calcification and osteophytes (in patients with arthritis).
Mindways Software, Inc. produces QCT software that can be used on CT scanners for bone density testing. https://www.qct.com/index.php
Click below to see an example of a Mindways QCT report.
For more information on bone density reports consult:
Copyright 2006 and 2016 by Renée Newman