The bone density assessment (bone densitometry) is a special X-ray method for determining the density or the calcium salt content of the bones. People with reduced calcium salt are at increased risk of fractures. This mainly affects women in menopause, men over 50, or people with certain medical conditions such as an overactive thyroid or rheumatic patients with long-term corticosteroids.
Osteoporosis, also known as bone loss is the most common disease in the elderly and affects women about four times more often than men. It is characterized by a loss of minerals in the skeleton itself. Additionally, a loss of bone structure can occur in fractures without adequate reason ("spontaneous fractures"). Most often, the vertebrae in the forearm / wrist and femoral neck are affected. The absolute majorities of diseases occur without specific triggering factors and are referred to as "primary osteoporosis." However, the disease may also be the result of side effects from medication ("secondary osteoporosis"). Most often, blood-thinning medications, certain stomach and cytostatic drugs are responsible. Important causes are also lack movement, even anorexia, and many metabolic diseases. Some loss of bone density is normal and physiologically.
How is bone density measured?
The methods used are D (E) XA (Dual Energy X-Ray Absorptiometry) Computed tomography and quantitative / Osteo CT are available, both methods are scientifically proven and are suitable for diagnosis and therapy monitoring.
We offer the Osteo-CT in our practice (city location) at the KLINIK am RING.
We use our modern multislice computer tomograph (CT scanner) for the examinations (see „Computer Tomography“).
How is the examination performed?
The examination is painless and takes only a few minutes; the radiation exposure is minimal, and a contrast agent is not needed. The patient is comfortably positioned on the back of the computer tomography. With the computer tomography, three thin layer images (slices) are made through the center of each of the three vertebral bodies. With these layers, a so-called reference measurement body is recorded as well. These contain two substances with known contents of bone mineral salt.
With these references, the bone mineral salt content (calcium hydroxyapatite / Ca-HA) can be precisely determined from the comparison of the measurements in the bone marrow of the vertebrae. In addition, for the measuring the radiologist analyzes structure of the recorded bone marrow trabecular. The results are than compared with the average results of a group of twenty-year-old men or women (T-score) and a group of peers (Z-score). The results then show whether an abnormal reduction of bone mineral salt content is present, and whether a treatment is recommended.
Who cannot be examined?
As with all X-ray examinations, pregnant women should only be examined for very urgent reasons.
Who pays for the examination?
Bone densitometry is not an examination paid by the statutory health insurances. Only in exceptional cases, the costs are covered. This needs, however, an appropriate authorization from the physicians' association, which we do not have. Costs for the examination are about 60 Euro. All private health insurance companies do reimburse the costs.