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A Bone Mineral Density Scan

The National Osteoporosis Foundation estimates 55% of people age 50 and older in the United States have osteoporosis or low bone mass. Of these, more than 14 million men and 30 million women are affected by this condition.

Osteoporosis is treatable and preventable. Early diagnosis, therapeutic intervention and the use of bone density testing to diagnose and monitor response to therapy have greatly improved the prognosis for patients. QCT is the most advanced way to find out if you have low bone mass, and assess your risk for osteoporosis.

What is QCT?

QCT is a fast, non-invasive bone mineral density (BMD) exam performed on a CT scanner. It allows us to look for low bone mass and monitor the effects of bone mass therapy in patients undergoing treatment.

During the exam, your spine and hip are scanned. We measure bone mass at these two areas since bone mineralization is not uniform throughout your body; meaning some skeletal sites may be normal, while others may be osteoporotic and prone to fractures.

QCT is unique in that it can isolate the soft bone in the spine for analysis. The soft bone (trabecular bone) is affected earlier than the hard bone (Cortical bone), so QCT is likely to detect low bone mass earlier than other bone mineral density exams.


Step 1: We will call you prior to your appointment to discuss specific preparation instructions and your past imaging exams. Be sure to tell us if you are nursing or if there is a chance you are pregnant. We’ll give you a general expectation in terms of time you’ll be in our center, but on average you should budget around 30 – 45 minutes for CT scan from check-in until departure.

Step 2: On the day of your exam, please arrive 15 minutes early to check-in and bring prior imaging results with you, if instructed. 

Step 3: Our CT technologist will help you onto the scanner table and then will go out of the room to run the scanner from a computer located directly next to the scanner suite, visible through the viewing window. At this time the CT table you are on will move into the scanner and the technologist will take the images. The actual time you are in the scanner will be around 15 minutes.

Step 4:  After the exam, your images will be electronically sent to one of our radiologists who will review the information and write a report for your provider. This information is shared with your provider within 24 hours of your exam. The provider who referred you for the QCT will be the one to follow-up with you about your results.

If you have questions about an upcoming QCT scan, please call us