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trail 05-02-2007 02:05 PM

ct scan vs. dexa for bone density
Hi everyone
I know this issue was discussed back in 2003 on this board, but I wondered what the latest thoughts are. My daughter just got her bone density tested for a baseline. Because of my severe osteo I thought it was important to see if she is okay now, or if there is any reason for concern. It looks like she didn't have a DEXA, but a CT scan instead. She said she had to put a gown on(I have had numerous dexas and always was clothed) even though she had no zippers, buttons, etc. on her clothes. They only did the left hip and the spine, no forearm. I am curious to see what any of you know about the accuracy of the CT scan and should we be concerned?

DesertBloom 05-03-2007 04:57 PM

Re: ct scan vs. dexa for bone density
Hi Trail: I don't know if your insurance would let you repeat the test, but if so, I would do that. Unfortunately QCT and DEXA, give out varying t-scores which are dependant on age, so it's hard to say how accurate it is. Check your daughters age against the score list (link below) and you'll see how the younger you are the *less* it overestimates. QCT's do emit a large amount of radiation, so some Drs don't like them for that reason alone. If you want more info on it, do a search on QCT or quantitative cat scan and see what you find.

Below is the link from the Univ of WA, explaining the differences in scores between the two. I had a QCT done twice, so when I have my first DEXA I won't know if the differing scores are from treatment or equipment, which is really frustrating. Unfortunately neither of these test are fool proof, which would explain why different machines/technicians give different results.

DEXA's are still considered the gold standard in bmd, but if they could improve the QCT, by eliminating the problems of reproducibility, radiation, and age matching, it could be a really good test, but they have a [U]long way[/U] to go.

Some people disagree with this reasoning so you'll have to decide for yourself.

Good luck, I hope your daughter gets a good score, and I think it was brilliant of you to decide to have her tested; if she were to have a low bmd you've just provided her with years of prevention management and possibly early treatment.


Scroll up to the Para on QCT, and check out the embedded link on age/scores on the following page.:wave:

trail 05-06-2007 08:27 AM

Re: ct scan vs. dexa for bone density
Desert Bloom,
Thanks so much for your reply. She is going to sit down with her doctor and go over the results next week and I told her to specifically ask for the exact kind of machine she was tested on DXA or CT scanner. So, we will see. I appreciate your feedback, you always have such good advice and info.

NY 1009 05-16-2007 04:28 AM

Re: ct scan vs. dexa for bone density
they didn't do my wrists either and they choose only one hip to do. I forgot what her explanation was for only doing the one hip. I thought they were going to do my wrists and was suprised they didn't either.
mine was a dexa scan and not a cat scan.
did you daughter call them to ask if it was definetly a cat scan and not a dexa?

NY 1009 05-16-2007 04:30 AM

Re: ct scan vs. dexa for bone density
I too had only the one hip and no wrists but had the spine done on my dexa. sounds like she had the same thing I did and I had a dexa scan, not a ct scan.
did your daughter call the office to find out if it was definelty a cat scan and not a dexa?

DesertBloom 05-16-2007 01:22 PM

Re: ct scan vs. dexa for bone density
Hi: If you are not sure which test your daughter had, the dexa is a large flat table with an "arm" suspended overhead. The QCT, looks just like any CT scanner where the exam table slides through the center of the scanner where there is a large round opening, it kinda looks like a large donut with the table sliding through the hole.:eek:

trail 05-16-2007 03:05 PM

Re: ct scan vs. dexa for bone density
Thanks for your replies ladies. My daughter made an appointment to see her doctor and will ask all her questions then. Hopefully, we will know soon. Her twin sister is pretty upset and has to go back to her doctor and push harder for a scan, because so far she has refused to order it for her. Her response was, well even if you are osteopenia, I wouldn't put you on any medication, so why bother! This is why we need to get more doctors to become educated in handling bone health issues for patients of ALL ages. It is so frustrating.

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