Bone Densitometry (BMD-DEXA)

Bone Densitometry - Dual Energy X-ray Absorptiometry (BMD-DEXA) is used to measure bone mineral density (BMD). The technique uses very low dose x-rays and is a safe and painless procedure. The entire procedure lasts approximately 20 minutes.

Low bone density or osteoporosis is a major indicator of fracture risk and is common, particularly in women following menopause. Loss of bone density may also be accelerated in conditions affecting the liver and thyroid gland and by certain medications, in particular, steroids. Measurement of the spine and hip is routinely performed and measurement of the forearm may also be undertaken, if required.

All appointments will be scheduled after receiving a requisition from you physician or patient care provider.

Treatments & What to Expect

For this exam, you will lie on a padded BMD table for a few minutes while the scanner – a mechanical arm-like device – passes over your body. It will not touch you. There is radiation emitted during this exam and the exposure during a BMD is commonly about 1/10th of the amount emitted for a chest x-ray.

The exam usually takes about 20 minutes to complete. The radiologist will interpret the exam and the results will be sent to your physician within 2-3 working days.

Hours of Operation

This service is provided Monday through Friday and at this time this service is not available on weekends.

Indications for BMD

  • Measurement of bone density in patients age 70 years and older
  • Follow-up of low bone density or fractures with minimal trauma, follow-up of bone density on therapy
  • Prolonged therapy with steroids, early menopause, male hypogonadism
  • Measurement of bone density may be indicated in chronic diseases, including chronic liver and kidney disease

Please note: Ontario Health Insurance Plan has strict guidelines on how often the bone mineral density test examinations should be preformed. An order from your physician or patient care provider must be faxed directly to our scheduling department. Your appointment will be faxed back to the ordering facility and they will contact you with the date and time of your appointment.

Day of your Appointment

Patients should only arrive 5-10 minutes before the scheduled appointment time. (patients arriving late may be rescheduled). Please bring your health card with you.

Please bring a list of medications, including prescriptions, calcium supplements and osteoporosis treatment.


  • DO NOT TAKE a calcium supplement, iron pill, or osteoporosis treatment the day of the appointment until after your exam
  • Continue other medications as usual
  • No restrictions on food or drink
  • Wear loose fitting clothing with no buttons or zippers and remove any abdominal jewellery (no underwire bras)
  • Bring a written list of current medication


  • Suspected pregnancy
  • Within 5 days of scheduled appointment, administration of radiopaque contrast (UGI, Barium Enema, CT with barium)
  • Within 3 days of scheduled appointment, administration of nuclear medicine radioactive isotope
  • Weight restriction of 350 pounds on BMD unit at our site

Please be aware that this is a "Fragrance Free" facility.
Please do not bring small children to your appointment unless accompanied by another adult.


Park in the North parking lot, located off Rolph Street. Enter the hospital through the Emergency (ER) Entrance. Continue to Registration, up the hall and on the right.

If you have any questions or need to re-schedule your appointment, please contact our scheduling department at 519-842-6335 (Monday-Friday 8:30 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.).