Bone densitometry technicians are specialized employees in radiology and medical X-ray analysis. They are typically utilized by doctors and orthopedists to scan and analyze bone health and soundness in a patient, and these tests are often associated with conditions such as osteoporosis; however, densitometry technicians also assist with other bone disorders and even certain types of cancer.
The main goal of a bone densitometry technician is to obtain an accurate and medically-useful scan of affected areas on a patient. They work according to a referred physician's notes and requirements, and then carefully place the patient on or within the X-ray scanning equipment. They then take multiple images from a variety of angles to properly capture the area. In osteoporosis testing, this usually involves imaging the lower back, hip, legs, and shoulder areas. They typically use a large central X-ray scanner, but may also use smaller equipment to focus on specific problem areas as needed.
When scanning is complete, bone densitometry technicians develop these scans and examine and analyze them for specific visual cues which may suggest bone weakness, lack of density, or possible structural or interior weakness. These analyses can be painstaking and require strong attention to detail, and these technicians typically write reports on their findings and provide them, along with supporting images, to patients' doctors or specialists to facilitate proper ongoing care.
Most radiologists can enter this career field with enough specialized training. Typical X-ray technicians will have an associate's degree or technical school training and certification in the field, and bone densitometry technicians should also have an additional year or two of education to learn the more detailed analytical skills required for this position. Many jurisdictions also require specific densitometry certification to be held, as well. Bone densitometry technicians typically work in hospitals or dedicated radiological clinics during regular business hours of the week.
Bone Densitometry Technician Tasks
Use beam-restrictive devices and patient-shielding techniques to minimize radiation exposure to patient and staff.
Perform procedures using bone density x-ray equipment under supervision of physician.
Determine patients' x-ray needs by reading requests or instructions from physician and explain to patient.
Process bone density measurements using computer generated methods.