Scans, tests and results

If your doctor thinks you may be affected by osteoporosis they can refer you for a range of scans and tests, to help them find out if your bones have lost strength.

There’s no simple way to look inside your bones, but a combination of different tests are used to build up a picture of your bone health, and risk of breaking a bone.

Your doctor may refer you for tests if:

Learn more in our video, How is osteoporosis diagnosed?

Tests and what they can tell your doctor

  • X-ray - If you've had spinal fractures
  • Blood test - If another medical condition is causing your symptoms
  • MRI scan - If another medical condition is causing your symptoms
  • Bone density scan - How much bone tissue you have (your bone density)
  • Fracture risk assessment - Your risk of breaking a bone
  • Radioisotope - Whether your broken bones are caused by other medical conditions
  • CT scan - How much bone tissue you have (your bone density)
  • Bone markers - whether your osteoporosis medication is working
  • Bone biopsy - If there have been any changes inside your bones, although this is rarely used to investigate osteoporosis as it's not a simple procedure

Be reassured that you don’t need all these investigations, only the ones that help in your situation.

Also see:

We’re working towards a future without osteoporosis.

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