BONE SCANS

Calendar
Notation
Frequency
DEXA Dual-Energy X-Ray Absorptiometry  -  Bone Density 6 times
pQCT Peripheral Quantitative Computed Tomography   - Bone Mineral Content 3 times
CLICK HERE FOR SOME FUN FACTS ABOUT BONES

DEXA (also DXA) measures bone density and can also do full body composition scans.  In our program, we travel to the DEXA machine at the following times:
  • During screening
  • Before bedrest
  • Mid-way through bedrest
  • Immediately after getting up
  • Six months after recovery period
  • One year after release

We have scans on the spine, hip, leg, heel and wrist... where X-Ray beams are used to measure bone mass.  The ARadiology website has an excellent page about DEXA, how it works, what it looks for, and an example of a result.

The pQCT is another type of X-Ray scan, where the mineral density of the bones is measured, using the lower leg.

Yep, we have to stick a limb in there, but the clamps are quite gentle... you're just "stuck" for awhile.  This machine, unlike the DEXA which rolls back and forth in a linear fashion, takes many sweeps around the leg to gather cross-sections for a "Volumetric Model."  There is a more in-depth explanation of how the pQCT works at the StraTec medical website.

We are informed prior to each procedure that we will be exposed to radiation, and all female subjects have pregnancy tests prior to any scanning.  

Total radiation over the duration is about 20.34 mRem for males and about 44.54 mRem for females.  (However, for comparison, total radiation for living in the city of Houston for one year is 250 mRem.)

mrem = a unit for measuring radiation, equal to the effect that one roentgen of X-rays or gamma-rays would produce in a human being. 

One mrem is one thousandth (10-3) of a “Roentgen Equivalent Man."  A roentgen is a unit of quantity of ionizing radiation, named after the German physicist and discoverer of X-rays Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen (1845-1923).