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Here at Iowa Ortho, we like to stay up to date on the latest technology and implement it into the excellent care we provide to our patients. Our most recent addition to our diagnostic testing services is a CT bone scanner called the Quantitative Computed Tomography (QCT) test. Tracking your bone health is important because conditions such as osteoporosis and osteopenia increase your risk of future fractures. To learn more about Iowa Ortho’s newest diagnostic test, read the answers to some frequently asked questions that have been provided below. Click here for a printable version of FAQs.
What is a bone density test?
Bone density tests measure the bone mineral density (BMD) or mass density in your bones. Your risk of fracture is then determined from the results of the BMD test. BMD can be measured utilizing a Quantitative Computed Tomography (QCT) test, which utilizes a CT scanner.
Who is a good candidate for a QCT test?
Men and women 50 years of age and above are especially at risk for bone loss — and individuals with a family history of osteoporosis may want to get tested even sooner. Other people who could suffer from bone loss are athletes who’ve had repetitive stress fractures, cancer patients taking certain chemotherapy medications, excessive alcohol or tobacco users, and those with estrogen deficiency, breast cancer history, and low body weight. Ask your doctor to see if a bone mineral density test would be of benefit to you.
What is the benefit of a QCT vs. DEXA scan?
· Both tests utilize measurements taken from the lumbar spine and hip region.
· QCT scans have a higher sensitivity to changes in bone density and leaves less margin for error when determing fracture risks.
· DEXA scans require less radiation than QCT, however, results can be affected by arthritic and vascular calcifications.
How do I schedule a QCT test?
· Prior to scheduling a test, your doctor will need to order the test for you.
· Iowa Ortho’s Outpatient Testing Department will then schedule your test.
· Most insurance plans cover this test. If not it may go towards your deductible.
· QCT testing will be done at Iowa Ortho’s CT department located on the lower level.
What should I expect during a QCT test?
· QCT tests are very simple and take 15 minutes or less.
· You will be asked to remove metal from the lower back, waist, and hip region. Gown and shorts are available if needed.
· During the scan you need to lie down and stay still. At this time you will notice the CT table moving in and out of the scanner.
· We will scan a portion of your lumbar spine and hip, which will give us a precise number that calculates your bone mineral density.
What happens after the scan is completed?
· After the test is completed, you will receive a copy of your results.
· If your results are abnormal, within one week follow up with your Primary Care Provider or OB/GYN to discuss different treatments.
· Your Primary Care Provider or OB/GYN will receive a copy of your QCT results from Iowa Ortho.
What will the test results show?
Your results indicate whether or not you have osteopenia or osteoporosis, which affects your risk of fracture.
For additional questions or concerns, please contact Iowa Ortho’s CT Department at 515-247-9590.