Mercy Health grandrapids
Print      Email
Decrease (-) Restore Default Increase (+)


Bone Mineral Densitometry

Overview of Bone Mineral Densitometry

Mercy Health Saint Mary’s offers Bone Mineral Densitometry (BMD, or simply a Bone Density Test) at two convenient locations in Greater Grand Rapids, Michigan. BMD is a quick, easy method of measuring bone mineral density with a low-dose X-ray. The procedure commonly involves scanning the forearm, lower back, and hip to measure the density of specific minerals (i.e. calcium) in order to estimate the strength of your bones to determine if your bones are becoming less dense (osteopenia) as you grow older.

The primary use fof BMD is to diagnose or screen for osteoporosis. Low bone mineral density (BMD) independently predicts fracture risk in men and women. Dual-emission X-ray absorptiometry (DEXA) is the gold standard to measure BMD, and can easily and precisely measure BMD at several skeletal sites with trivial radiation exposure. 

If you are questioning whether you need a Bone Mineral Density test, please complete this questionnaire and speak with your primary care physician.

What other services are available at Saint Mary’s in bone density?

Vertebral Fracture Assessment (VFA) is an exam performed for the purpose of detecting vertebral fractures. It is typically done in conjunction with a BMD Test.

Whole Body Bone Composition scans tell you how much lean tissue (muscle), fat and bone your body is composed of. Those three components added together make up your total weight. Using this information, we will calculate your percent of fat, bone density, and your muscle symmetry. This is our only self-pay exam, so a physician order is not required to schedule your exam. Currently we offer one Whole Body Composition scan for $125.00. 

How do I prepare for this procedure?

There is no patient prep for these procedures; however, if you are or could be pregnant, please inform your health care provider. It is also requested that you wear loose clothing with no zippers or buttons, and to have a complete list of medications on hand. Click here if you would like to print the patient history questionnaire to complete prior to arriving for your exam.

What can I expect during/after the procedure?

This simple, painless procedure requires you to lie on your back on a padded table and remain still for approximately 10 to 20 minutes. This procedure exposes you to a very low dose of radiation, and is not recommended for pregnant women.

Receiving Your Results

Your exam will be read by a board-certified radiologist. The report is usually transferred to your physician within one to two days, but additional time may be needed for your physician to review and correlate with other tests that you have had. If you have not heard anything within five business days after your exam, you can contact your physician’s office.

If your bone mineral test results are low (low mineral), you may have osteoporosis.

Which Mercy Health locations offer this service?

  • Mercy Health Saint Mary's Campus in downtown Grand Rapids, 200 Jefferson SE, 1st floor radiology, Phone: 616-685-6757, Fax: 616-685-8993. ***Whole Body Composition is only offered at this location***
  • Mercy Health Southwest Campus in Byron Center, 2373 64th St. SW, 1st Level. Phone: 616-685-3927, Fax: 616-685-3903

We can schedule and perform your examination within 24 hours (excluding holidays and weekends), and will provide results to your physician promptly.

To schedule your appointment today, please call 616-685-4000.

Where can I get more information about Bone Mineral Densitometry and Osteoporosis?

Click here to visit the International Society of Clinical Densitometry (ISCD) Website for more information regarding patient information for Bone Mineral Density (BMD).

Click here to take a questionnaire to assess your risk for Osteoporosis and further information regarding the disease.