What we use

At OsteoScan we use the DXL Calscan which is a mobile dexa scanner with laser which measures the density of the heel bone. It is known as a peripheral device (one of the devices recommended by the National Osteoporosis Society) because it scans the heel bone. The heel is made up of the same type of bone as the hip and spine, (trabecular bone). The turn-over rate of trabecular bone is six to eight times faster than for long bones and spinal process (cortical bone). The effects of therapeutic interventions, nutrition and exercise may show up faster in trabecular bone and so scanning the heel is a fast and very accurate predictor of spine and hip bone density. Research has shown that measuring the heel density is fully comparable with hip measurement and is a better measurement site than the spine for predicting spine fractures because previous fractures and degenerative changes can make bone density measurements inaccurate.

The Calscan is very accurate (more than 90%) because the laser in association with the dual X-ray can differentiate between adipose (fat) tissue around the heel. The soft-ware used by the Calscan ensures that there is no operator error. The measurement is dry i.e. no gel and only requires the patient to remove one shoe and sock.

The result is given as an easily readable graph with a “T-score” which is the format for diagnosis as determined by the World Health Organisation.

The Calscan is extremely safe as it administers a radiation dose of less than 0.1µSv. This is the equivalent to approximately 20 minutes of normal UK background radiation or 50 times less than dental X-ray. The location of the laser within the foot-well removes any possibility of accidental exposure and so the laser is safe to UK/European/US standards class 1.

Once the scan has been taken we will explain the results, give you a copy and send a copy to your GP who will then advise you on the most appropriate treatment.