Irwin Army Community Hospital recently received a new bone density machine that offers lower doses of radiation per screening and measures osteoporosis progression.
Before the machine was available, patients received a CT scan of their spine only, and providers were not able to look at their hips or arms for osteoporosis progression," said Connie Wade, radiologic technologist, IACH.
"Now we can take pictures of the lower spine and a hip or wrist to look further into what may be causing the patient pain," she said.
The test also is more numerically accurate for the provider to read and brings the hospital's equipment in line with what is currently being used at other military and civilian hospitals.
Although osteoporosis depends on risk factors like genetics, age, gender and diet, the new bone density machine can help detect possible issues and allow patients to work out a plan with their health care provider.
The machine also can track a patient's bone density progress over a two-year period and provide a comparison to determine if the patient needs to be put on a medicine regiment to slow bone loss.
"The machine can help the provider know if the patient will potentially have osteoporosis and put them on a calcium or vitamin D supplement," said Jennifer Newell, radiologic technologist, IACH.
The clinic can perform up to 15 screenings a week and anyone can be referred by their primary care provider.
The target group for the screenings is post-menopausal women or women who are 65 years of age and older. Men under the age of 70 with clinical risk factors for fracture also are encouraged to be screened.
Additionally, the machine is more patient friendly because it doesn't take as long as a CT scan and doesn't make the patient feel claustrophobic, Wade said.
"We don't even require you to undress and change into a hospital gown for the screening," she said, adding patients can wear their clothes as long as no metal is near the area being scanned.
Patients wanting to schedule an appointment can bring in a doctor's referral to the xray clinic or have their doctor fax the referral in.
To make an appointment, call 785-239-DOCS (3627).