Bone Density

What Is Bone Mineral Densitometry?

A Bone Mineral Densitometry (BMD) examination checks the density of your bones.

Booking An Appointment For A Bone Mineral Densitometry

BMD requires a specialised couch. GVIG has two locations offering BMD services, 104 Nixon St Shepparton and Echuca Radiology.

In order to have a BMD you will require a referral from your doctor. To be able to claim this test through Medicare, your examination must be clinically indicated. This means that your doctor will need to explain in the clinical notes on your referral the reason that you require this test.

The machine which is used for your BMD has a weight limit of 159kg. If you are heavier than this, please advise the receptionist when you are making your appointment.

Please note, that if you are under 20 years of age, we are unable to perform your BMD. We recommend that you contact the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne to make your appointment.

It is important that you bring your Medicare card and any current health care / pension cards to your appointment.

Who Can Claim A Bone Mineral Densitometry Test Through Medicare

People who can claim their BMD through Medicare will either have:

  • Osteoporosis (pre-proven 12 months prior by a previous BMD)
  • Be on steroid or cortisone treatment
  • Have reached menopause before the age of 44½ years
  • Have had a oophorectomy (Ovary removal) before the age of 44½ years
  • Have chronic liver, chronic renal, Coeliac, hyperthyroid or parathyroid disease.
  • Have had a diagnosis of one or more fractures occurring after minimal trauma
  • Crush fracture or wedge compression of more than 20%.

Your doctor must record one of the above reasons on your referral in order for you to be able to claim the BMD through Medicare.
Claimable examinations require a specific time period between a repeated study.

These time periods depend on why you are having the examination. Some examinations will only allow one examination in a period of 24 months and 1 day, and others will allow one examination in a period of 12 months and 1 day.
For example, if you have osteoporosis and your doctor is monitoring your bone density and you had an examination on 1st July 2013, you will not be able to have a claimable BMD until 2nd July 2015.

If you require an examination before your next “available” date, you will not be able to claim it through Medicare and will be required to pay the full amount.

If you are aged 70 years or over, you are eligible to have a free BMD examination funded by the government, however, you still require a doctor’s referral.

Preparation For My Bone Mineral Densitometry Test

Generally, you are not required to make any special preparations for a BMD.
Metal is not allowed to cover any of the areas being scanned (the wrist, hip and lumber spine), and will need to be removed prior to the BMD.

What Happens During My Bone Mineral Densitometry Test?

During your BMD we will use a state-of-the-art Bone Densitometer called the Lunar Prodigy. You will be asked to lie down whilst a narrow-angle fan beam makes multiple passes across you. The Lunar Prodigy determines the density of bone accurately in every patient ensuring precise, reliable, consistent measurement of bone area and mineral content.

How Long Does A Bone Mineral Densitometry Test Take?

The three images will take only approximately one minute each. In total the whole examination takes around 15 minutes.

Are There Any After Effects Or Risks With A Bone Mineral Densitometry Test?

There are no known after effects or risks associated with a BMD test.

What Are The Benefits Of A Bone Mineral Densitometry Test?

A BMD enables your doctor to access your risk of a possible fracture and, if necessary, allows the doctor to prescribe a dietary or drug treatment program to minimize that risk. They will then be able to monitor over time the effects of such a treatment program.

Who Performs The Bone Mineral Densitometry Test?

The person who performs the BMD is a qualified Radiographer. They have completed tertiary qualifications and are registered with the Medical Radiation Practice Board of Australia / Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency.

Who Completes The Bone Mineral Densitometry Report?

Once all your images have been taken, they will be viewed by the Radiologist (a medical doctor with specialist credentialing and qualifications from the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Radiologists – RANZCR).
The Radiologist will then prepare a written report for your doctor. This report should be received within 1 to 2 working days. If you have a doctor’s appointment already scheduled please let our staff know so that we can ensure your report is sent to your doctor prior to your appointment.

Further Questions

Should you have any further questions please feel free to contact us and ask to speak to the Practice Manager or a Radiographer.