Is bone density testing reliable?
Bone density testing is only as good as the technicians ability to set up the patient correctly and the doctor’s ability to evaluate the data that the computer analyses. The least significant change that is reliable when comparing two bone density exams is around 5%. This is because the machine itself is not perfect every time and the technician can make errors when setting up the patient. Such errors can result in an exam that appears to have lost or gained bone density. When the treating doctor reads the report furnished by the bone density exam center they rely on these reports to determine whether or not to prescribe medications. I think it is advisable to seek a second opinion regarding bone density exams.
Bone density exams can be flawed!
Did you know that bone density testing facilities are not required to have certified trained technicians? Also, the doctor reading the exam is not required to be certified as a densitometrist?
Training is voluntary! Any medical doctor can issue a report on a bone density test. This is a huge problem because densitometry is not a required field of study in radiology or medical training. I review cases from all over the country and I find preventable errors many times a week. When a report with an erroneous error concludes that bone loss has occurred that is a trigger for medical doctors to prescribe medications.
This is a huge problem, just because someone is an MD does not mean they know densitometry, which is a not covered in radiology studies or medical studies.
“errors are not uncommon”
International Society of Clinical Densitometry