Quality Bone Density Testing

by Lynn Kohlmeier, Spokane Osteoporosis Centers

Spokane has many osteoporosis bone mineral density (BMD) testing centers where the BMD technicians and clinicians are providing quality BMD tests. This excellence is not universal, and centers that are ISCD (International Society of Clinical Densitometry) certified show dedication to the osteoporosis field. Surprisingly, less than half of BMD centers in Washington are in fact certified (~32%) and far less in other states.1 In order to make clinical decisions, it is important to have accurate and precise BMD test results.2 If you had a DXA BMD test on one day and returned later that same day, your BMD result to be the same, and if it were not, you would not trust the test then nor in one or two years when it was again repeated. If BMD test was not performed or analyzed correctly, results can be as much as 4% different when immediately repeated, making any clinical decisions difficult.

If your BMD truly decreases or you suffer a fracture, it would be important to talk to your provider about your calcium and vitamin D intake, what osteoporosis medication might be appropriate for you, if you are not already taking one, and whether blood and urine tests to evaluate for 'silent causes of bone loss' are indicated (such as vitamin D deficiency or high urinary calcium losses).

Bone strength is only explained in part by BMD, but we know that the better your BMD the lower your fracture risk. In the future, we will have 'virtual bone biopsies' using MRI and/or micro-CT scanning and further measurements such as HSA (hip structural analysis) for 'bone quality' assessments, but these tests are expensive and still being studied.

The Spokane Osteoporosis Centers offer three BMD Testing Sites, the Downtown-Endocrine Site- 910 W 5th Avenue #570, the -North Site- 220 E. Rowan Avenue #170, and the -Spokane Valley Site- 1005 N. Evergreen Road #0101. The Spokane Osteoporosis Centers have been credentialed since starting seven years ago, and will be one of the first testing sites in the country to receive ISCD Accreditation as well.


  1. Carbone LD et al, J Clin Densitom 2005;8:251-260
  2. www.ISCD.org
  3. Proctor & Gamble Information available upon request