New Tool to Measure Bone Density

Another tool used for bone density measurement is a type of scanner using ultra-sound technology, commonly referred to as the quantitative ultrasound.

The gold standard for bone density measurement is the DXA scan, but now we have a new ultra-sound measuring tool approved by the Food and Drug Administration today November 3, 2011.

As many of you may know, we also have another type of scanner using ultrasound technology, commonly referred to as the quantitative ultra-sound (QUS) heel scan. Most physicians feel this type of screening is inferior to the DXA, but that it may be used for screening purposes that would prompt the patient to have further DXA testing if the measurement produces a low bone density score.

With this new tool, called the Sunlight Mini Omni sonometer, they can provide a more affordable testing scan for those needing to get a bone density scan but may not be able to afford the more expensive DXA, or for those who are uninsured or underinsured, which is common these days.

The Sunlight MiniOmni by BeamMed LTD, bone sonometer provides an exceptionally affordable, professional solution for early assessment of osteoporosis. It enables reliable, accurate, non-invasive and safe monitoring of bone density - with exceptional cost-effectiveness. Its ultra-small size and weight (similar to and even lighter than a hardcover book), intuitive ease of use, and convenient USB-port connectivity to Windows XP/7-based PCs and laptops makes it ideal for use in any physician office or medical clinic, pharmacy, annual checkup center or other retail venue.

Here are some of the features of this new technology that could make this type of transportable equipment very popular among physicians and patients.

  • Radiation free

  • Non-invasive

  • Precise measurements - a unique multi-site measurement

  • 4 ethnical reference databases for males, females and children_

  • Suitable for 0 - 99 years

  • Utilizes market-proven Omnipath technology

  • WHO-compliant T-score and Z-score results

  • Easy to understand, graphical measurement report created within minutes

  • Report includes patient details and measurement history

  • Low system cost

For a full list of features on the Sunlight Omnisense 8000, see the link to the company BeamMed LTD.

With the recent cuts to DXA spending by Medicare and the reimbursements rates for this test, this option may be something you could use as a precursor to DXA, until you can afford it or the reimbursement rate goes back up.

Since this device is portable, it can be used in doctors' offices, pharmacies, health fairs and hospitals as well as other locations making it an easier to locate and obtain screening device.

Many insurance companies have a limit on the frequency of DXA scan tests, so this leaves many with treatments that can't be evaluated. We don't want to be on treatments for 2 years without knowing if what we are doing is having any affect. With this less expensive scanner, you could find out sooner how your bone density measurements are doing while on a new treatment, rather than having to wait until your provider will cover a DXA again.

If you're interested in this new scanner, talk to your doctor about it and see if it's available in their office or area. Since this just received FDA approval, I would imagine it will take some time for it to be in use for patients looking for an alternative option to a DXA scan.

Pam Flores
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Pam Flores

Pam wrote for HealthCentral as a patient expert for Osteoporosis.