bone density scan
bone density chart

About the Bone Density Screening Program

The Saint Paul VI Institute’s ongoing commitment to women’s health includes not only the health of a woman’s menstrual cycles but also the condition of her bones. It is recommended that a baseline test be performed at age 35.

Osteoporosis: What is it?

Osteoporosis is a disease that can cause the bones to become more fragile and more likely to break. Any bone can be affected, but it is more likely to occur in the hip, spine and wrist. Once menopause has taken place, it is more difficult to correct any identifiable bone density problems.


According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation:

  • 10 million individuals are estimated to have osteoporosis and almost 34 million more are estimated to have low bone mass, placing them at risk for osteoporosis
  • 80 percent of those affected by osteoporosis are women
  • A woman’s risk of hip fracture is equal to her combined risk of breast, uterine, and ovarian cancer
  • Women can lose up to 20 percent of their bone mass in the five to seven years following the menopause

Are You at Risk?

  • Being female
  • All post-menopausal women under the age of 65 who have additional risk factors
  • Age greater than 65
  • Family history of osteoporosis
  • Estrogen deficiency as a result of menopause especially early or surgically induced
  • Abnormal menses or the absence of menstrual periods (amenorrhea)
  • Anorexia nervosa
  • Low lifetime calcium intake
  • Use of certain medications (corticosteroids and anticonvulsants)
  • Inactive lifestyle
  • Current cigarette smoking
  • Excessive use of alcohol
  • Being Caucasian or Asian

How can I know if I am at risk for osteoporosis?

The only way to tell if you have osteoporosis or low bone mass is through a bone density test. A bone density test can:

  • Detect osteoporosis before a fracture occurs.
  • Predict you chances of fracturing in the future.
  • Determine your rate of bone loss and/or monitor the effects of treatment.

If you are a candidate for bone density screening…

You can expect the following to occur:

  • The length of time for the test is 30-45 minutes.
  • Preparation for the test requires no calcium supplementation 48 hours prior to the test.
  • Generally speaking, the test is not uncomfortable. It involves lying on one’s back.
  • This test is not a “heel” test. It is a very accurate test because it scans the lower back, spine, both hips.
  • Insurance coverage is available.
  • Physician referral is required.
  • The screening test takes place in a quiet and confidential setting.
  • A formal report is sent to your physician.

Ask your doctor if you should be screened today!


A physician referral is required for bone density screening. Please call the Ultrasound Department for further information and for scheduling an appointment.

Ultrasound Department — National Center for Women’s Health
Saint Paul VI Institute
6901 Mercy Rd.
Omaha, NE 68106
(402) 390-0529