OSF Holy Family Medical Center

Bone Density Testing

Osteoporosis is a disease of the bones. Osteoporosis means “porous bone.” This means your bones have lost density or mass and that the structure of your bone tissue has become abnormal. As your bones become less dense, they also become weaker and more likely to fracture.

Osteoporosis is often known as “the silent thief” because bone loss occurs without symptoms.

Breaking a bone is often the first sign that you have osteoporosis or you may notice that you are getting shorter or your upper back is curving forward.

About the Equipment

OSF Holy Family Bone Density ScreeningThe GE LUNAR Bone Densitometer is used to diagnose patients with osteoporosis.

The highly sensitive densitometer at OSF Holy Family identifies the Bone Mineral Density (BMD) and any  bone loss throughout the body including the hip and lumbar spine.

What to Expect

  • One of our technologists will go over some of your personal health history with you. 
  • During the bone density test, you (the patient) remain fully dressed.
  • The test usually takes less than 15 minutes. Bone density tests are non-invasive and painless. This means that no needles or instruments are placed through the skin or body.
  • The test uses very little radiation.   

Important to Know

If you are a postmenopausal woman, or a man over 70, or are experiencing height loss or curving of your spine, you should talk to your healthcare provider about getting a bone density test.

According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, women who are taking an osteoporosis medication should get a bone density scan 1 to 2 years after initiating therapy and every 2 years thereafter.


The (BMD) readings are analyzed by the radiologist and reported to your healthcare provider. 

Appointment Information

If you and your health care provider feel a bone density test would provide important information for your continued care, the provider will order the test either through the electronic medical record or with a paper order. 

The Central Scheduling Department staff will call you to schedule your appointment. 

Hours of operation for bone density testing are usually Monday-Friday from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.  Other appointments may be available upon request, subject to technologist availability.