Bone Densitometry

Johnson Memorial Hospital features bone densitometry, a technique using a small dose of radiation in order to determine levels of bone loss. These are completed in the same building as our Breast Center.

Pre-exam procedure

Upon arrival, you will be asked to sign the consent form, HIPAA form, patient information sheet, and one-page medical history survey. You may be directed to registration to finish additional paperwork or provide insurance information.

How long will it take?

The average exam takes 30 minutes to complete. Depending on the exam, you will be lying down and still. The technologist will make every attempt to keep you comfortable during this time.

What do I wear?

The technologist will require you to remove any metal and/or thick plastics, thick clothing, or buttons that are on the area being imaged (low back and pelvic area). Elastic bands are allowed. A gown will be provided if necessary.

What happens during the exam?

You will be required to lie still on the table for the full 30 minutes while an "arm" passes over your lower torso and hips. (Click here to see an image of a typical bone densitometry table example.) It is not an enclosure and your head will not be covered. For patients 65 years and older, your forearm will also be scanned.

What will it feel like?

There is no pain or sensation during the scanning process. You may, however, feel discomfort during the time you are required to lay down.


For patients on calcium, do not take any doses for 24 hours prior to the exam. There are no dietary restrictions.

How do I get my results?

The images are read by a board-certified radiologist and the report is faxed to your ordering physician within two business days. The technologist inspects every image for quality but does not read the images.

Alternatively, you may sign up for My JMH Patient Portal. MyJMH Patient Portal is a secure, private web portal that allows you to access your health information online. Updating your personal information, checking on your visit history, account balances, and your scheduled appointments is all available in one place.