Densitometry is an informative medical examination, its purpose is to measure the mineral density of human bone tissue. The procedure is not invasive, painless, allows you to get information about the calcium content in the bones of a child or an adult, which will help to timely detect osteoporosis already in the initial stages.
Densitometry can be performed in different parts of the musculoskeletal system, however, it is most often practiced to study the following joints:
- knee joints
- Hip joints
- shoulder joints.
Computer, or complex, densitometry is many times more informative than conventional blood tests and even x-rays. Let us consider in more detail the types of densitometry, what kind of procedure it is, how it is carried out, what results it shows.
The objectives and essence of the study
Integrated densitometry will help to identify:
- The presence of bone osteoporosis at different stages of the course.
- Bone Density
- The amount of mineral compounds in human bones in any area of the musculoskeletal system.
- The exact location of fractures in the spine, the general condition of the spinal column.
- Clarification of the diagnosis of bone diseases.
- Establishing a further forecast for the development of osteoporosis, >
The procedure is performed without anesthesia, it is considered safe, since it does not have harmful radiation on humans. The research method consists in exposure to ultrasonic or x-ray radiation; data is read by sensors and transmitted to a computer. Further, a special program determines the level of density of human bones.
Computer densitometry is an accurate information technique for detecting osteoporosis in the initial stages. Exposure to rays can even detect minor deviations in bone structures (it is possible to detect even 2% calcium loss, which indicates a high accuracy of the study).
How do research
How is densitometry performed? The research technique depends on the specific type of research being diagnosed on a part of the human body.
The general course of the procedure:
- The patient takes the necessary position on a special table (it is indicated by the doctor, depending on the study area).
- If the hip joints are examined, then the person’s legs fit into a curly brace.
- You need to lie still. Depending on the densitometry method used, the duration of the procedure can be from ten minutes to half an hour.
- During the diagnosis, the doctor may ask the patient to hold his breath.
- The x-ray beam during the procedure can pass through 3 points of the bone.
How often can such a procedure be done? This is determined individually, based on the general state of health and the presence of a predisposition to bone diseases.
Two types of densitometry are practiced:
- ultrasound procedure;
- X-ray examination.
The ultrasound method is an examination without the use of rays. Due to the complete safety of the procedure, this type of densitometry is allowed for frequent use even by pregnant women and mothers during lactation.
Such a study is practiced using a special densitometer, which can measure the speed of ultrasound through the bones of a person. The indicator is taken by sensors and processed in the computer program.
Most often, the calcaneus is examined with ultrasound.
Advantages of ultrasound type diagnostics:
- Duration – no more than fifteen minutes.
- No harmful radiation or other negative effects on the body.
- The accuracy of the diagnostic procedure.
- Special training is not needed.
- The ability to conduct research, both for primary diagnostics, and for monitoring already conducted therapeutic therapy and assessing its effectiveness.
If the doctor was unable to obtain sufficient information from an ultrasound examination of the bones, an X-ray densitometry is performed.
A more accurate diagnostic method is X-ray densitometry. During the procedure, x-rays are sent to the human bone tissue. They calculate the amount of minerals in the bone tissue to determine its density.
X-rays can reveal even slight abnormalities in the bones. When densitometry is much less radiation than with conventional x-rays, therefore, the negative impact on the body is minimal.
Most often, X-rays are used to examine the density of the bones of the spine, wrists and hip joint. Also, such a procedure can be carried out for other areas of the musculoskeletal system of a person.
Due to the fact that this type of densitometry nevertheless exerts radiation from an x-ray on a person, conducting it too often is not recommended.
It is impossible to say exactly which is better: ultrasound or X-ray densitometry, since both types of procedures have their pros and cons. However, it is the X-ray examination of bones that is considered the more informational method.
Where can I get an examination?
Densitometry can be done at the medical diagnostic center. Particular attention should be paid not only to the clinic, but also to the qualification of the operator: the quality of the decryption of the results will depend on it.
The best clinics to perform such an examination:
The person who is being examined for the first time needs to understand what densitometry shows, which standards of bone density are distinguished by doctors. The main indicators of densitometry:
- “T” is an indicator of tissue density compared to normal. The normal rate for young people is 1 point or more.
- “Z” is the density of the tissue depending on the age group to which the patient belongs.
For adults and children, doctors use different scales to evaluate tissue density results.
The interpretation of the results is possible according to the following table:
With the results of the study, you need to contact a rheumatologist who will select a course of therapeutic therapy depending on the indications and state of neglect.
Even “neglected” joint problems can be cured at home! Just remember to smear it once a day.
The traditional treatment regimen for osteoporosis:
- Drugs to prevent further loss of bone calcium: Alostin, Verpena and derivatives.
- Medications for inhibiting bone loss: Bonefos, Xidiphon.
- Means for stimulating the formation of bone tissue (Osteogenon).
- The appointment of hormonal drugs is practiced with severe osteoporosis.
- Preparations with calcium, multivitamins: Elevit, Complivit.
In case of bone fracture, limb fixation with gypsum can be performed. In more advanced cases, the patient requires surgical intervention.
Indications for passage
The main indications for densitometry are the following conditions:
- Menopausal women. It is important to conduct bone research at an early stage of this condition.
- For preventive purposes, the study is conducted for women over 40 years old. As for men, it is advisable for them to carry out such a procedure every year after 60 years.
- A history of injuries or bone fractures. It is especially important to diagnose bone density in a fracture of the spine or hip joints, since they are most often destroyed by osteoporosis.
- The presence of severe thyroid disease and hormonal disruptions.
- Women who have had ovarian removal (they have an increased risk of developing osteoporosis).
- Patients whose close relatives suffered from osteoporosis.
- People who have been taking medications for a long time that affect the leaching of calcium from bones.
- Persons suffering from prolonged alcoholism, smokers with experience.
- People with a poorly balanced diet, lack of nutrients and calcium.
- Men and women of short stature with low body weight.
- Patients practicing fasting for therapeutic purposes or for weight loss.
- People leading a sedentary lifestyle.
- Patients who regularly exert excessive physical exertion on the body.
Additional indications for densitometry:
- diseases of the spine (osteochondrosis, scoliosis of varying degrees of neglect, hernia, etc.);
- metabolic disease;
- increased fragility of bones;
- back pain of uncertain etiology;
- violation of calcium metabolism;
- severe endocrine diseases;
- general control of the effectiveness of therapeutic treatment for osteoporosis;
- long-term treatment with psychotropic drugs or hormonal contraceptives;
- pregnancy planning period;
- people who often drink coffee.
The ultrasonic type of densitometry is considered safe for humans, therefore, it has no significant contraindications. As for the X-ray examination, due to radiation exposure it can not be performed by women during the period of bearing a child, mothers with lactation. If the patient has severe chronic diseases, then he must inform the doctor before the study.
Bone densitometry (ultrasound, computer) is prescribed by a rheumatologist, however, given the condition of a person, the following specialists can recommend the procedure:
If the diagnosis of bone tissue is prescribed by an endocrinologist or gynecologist, then the specialist wants to verify the root cause of the disease and the presence of complications.
You can find out what densitometry shows (what it is in general), how it is performed, by a specialist who performs such a study. He will give recommendations on how to prepare for densitometry.
You can ask a rheumatologist how densitometry works and how it is done to diagnose the condition of different joints.
Preparing for the procedure
Features of preparing patients for bone examination:
- If the main task of the examination is to diagnose osteoporosis, a few days before the procedure, you need to stop taking calcium in any doses and other drugs to strengthen the bones.
- Before examining, it is advisable for the patient to remove all jewelry from himself, to ensure that there are no metal objects on the clothes (buttons, zippers, etc.).
- If the woman is pregnant, then it is important to inform your doctor about this before the procedure. You need to make sure that the person has no other contraindications to the study.
- If previously the patient has already had x-rays using a contrast medium, it is important to warn the diagnostician about this.
Some patients fear the negative impact of such an examination. However, bone density does not suffer during densitometry, because the procedure does not have a destructive effect as human joints.
How often can densitometry be done? Doctors recommend testing for osteoporosis twice a year for people at high risk.
As for the prevention of joint pathologies, it is advisable to perform this study once a year to assess the total bone density. Extraordinary densitometry can be prescribed according to indications (pain, worsening of the joints, etc.). Before such a procedure, it is important to consult with your doctor first.
A study of the spine and its lumbar spine in cases of suspected osteoporosis is performed in the presence of a hernia, osteochondrosis, or a vertebral fracture.
X-ray densitometry is shown twice a year for inflammatory pathologies in the spine, scoliosis, arthrosis of large joints (for example, for arthrosis of the femoral neck).
Diagnosis of osteoporosis
A bone density test will examine the composition of the bone tissue. The indicators for osteoporosis (“T” and “Z”) will be -2,0 and below.
If a study on osteoporosis reveals this disease, then its degrees will be classified according to the results of tests and a doctor’s opinion.
How often can densitometry be done with osteoporosis already detected? The frequency of examinations depends on the stage of neglect of the disease, the speed of its progression.
The price of the examination is determined by its type, specific clinic, and area of examination.
The average cost of research is 3500 rubles. In some clinics, the price can go up to 6000 rubles. Take densitometry for pain in the joints: timely detected diseases will reduce the risk of developing dangerous diseases and their complications.
Knee Joint Examination
Unlike conventional knee x-rays, densitometry will provide more detailed information about the condition of the bone tissue of a given joint. The study will reveal the pathology of the knee joint in the stage of origin, when active inflammation in the patient has not yet been observed. This will give the doctor the opportunity to choose a course of treatment for the patient and prevent degenerative damage to the joint.
Shishkevich Vladimir, orthopedic and traumatologist, project editor-in-chief ExpertNews.
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Prevention of osteoporosis
Osteoporosis leads to thinning of bones and an increase in their fragility, which provokes fractures. To prevent loss of bone density, you need to adhere to the preventive recommendations of doctors:
- Lead a healthy lifestyle. You should completely abandon the use of strong alcoholic drinks, smoking, coffee, as all this helps to remove calcium and its further excretion from the body.
- Adhere to a healthy diet, the diet of which will be rich in calcium, magnesium and phosphorus. Every day, the menu includes meat or fish, herbs, cereals, liver, egg yolks and cheeses. Sour-milk products are useful for bones: cottage cheese, kefir, cream.
- Regularly take calcium in tablet form.
- It is important for women during menopause to take drugs with estrogen. They will protect against the development of a lack of sex hormones and the negative consequences of this condition.
- Exercise regularly on your body to strengthen bones and maintain their density. But if a person has already developed osteoporosis, then physical activity will not be so effective.
- Saturate the body with vitamin D. It is recommended at least once a year to go to sunny regions.
- Avoid obesity as well as critically low body weight.
- Timely treat any chronic pathologies, especially diseases of the kidneys, liver, gastrointestinal tract and hormonal disruptions in the body.
- Every year, consult a doctor and conduct diagnostic procedures for the prophylactic assessment of bone density.
- Avoid hard diets.