Osteoporosis and Metabolic Bone Health Center

Osteoporosis Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q: Do I need a doctor's referral to have a bone density test?
Yes. Like most medical tests, a DXA (also known as DEXA) bone density test requires a prescription from a physician. This can be your regular doctor, gynecologist, or another specialist you're seeing for other reasons. For DXA bone density test appointments, questions, and more information, call the Osteoporosis Prevention Center at 212.224.7935.

Q: At what age should I start getting a bone density test? How often should I have them thereafter?
According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, Bone Density Testing should be done on:

  1. All women aged 65 and older, regardless of risk factors
  2. Younger postmenopausal women with one or more risk factors
  3. Any postmenopausal woman with fractures
  4. Although the decision to test for bone mineral density is based on an individual's risk profile, many physicians will suggest a baseline DXA at menopause, since this is a time of accelerated bone loss.

Usually, a DXA test should be performed every two years after menopause. For some, however, an annual DXA may be recommended.  

Q: How long does it take until my bone density test results are ready?
The results of the bone density test can be made available to the ordering doctor within seven to ten days, or you can visit with a nurse clinician to get your results immediately following the test. Our nurses are specially trained to interpret these tests.

Q: Will my insurance pay for a bone density test?  
Individual benefits vary; therefore, each patient is encouraged to check with his/her insurance carrier. Typically, Medicare will cover the cost of a bone density test every two years.


For more questions about osteoporosis and bone density tests, please visit our Osteoporosis FAQs page.

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