Limitations of bone density testing include:

  • Differences in testing methods. Devices that measure density of the spinal and hip bones are more accurate but cost more than do devices that measure density of the peripheral bones of the forearm, finger or heel.
  • Limited insurance coverage. Not all health insurance plans pay for bone density tests, so ask your insurance provider beforehand if you're covered.
  • Lack of information about the cause. A bone density test can confirm that you have low bone density, but it can't tell you why. To answer that question, you need a more complete medical evaluation.
Sept. 07, 2017
  1. Osteoporosis overview. NIH Osteoporosis and Related Bone Diseases National Resource Center. https://www.niams.nih.gov/Health_Info/Bone/Osteoporosis/overview.asp. Accessed July 19, 2017.
  2. Lewiecki EM. Overview of dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry. https://www.uptodate.com/contents/search. Accessed July 19, 2017.
  3. Skeletal scintigraphy (bone scan). RadiologyInfo.org. https://www.radiologyinfo.org/en/info.cfm?pg=bone-scan. Accessed July 20, 2017.
  4. Bone densitometry. RadiologyInfo.org. https://www.radiologyinfo.org/en/info.cfm?pg=dexa. Accessed July 19, 2017.
  5. Bone mass measurement: What the numbers mean. NIH Osteoporosis and Related Bone Diseases National Resource Center. https://www.niams.nih.gov/Health_Info/Bone/Bone_Health/bone_mass_measure.asp. Accessed July 19, 2017.