What is QCT?
Quantitative Computed Tomography (QCT) utilizes CT technology to detect low bone mass and monitors the effects of therapy in patients undergoing treatment. It is a fast, non-invasive exam that detects low bone mass earlier and more accurately than other bone density exams.
Why should I have this test?
Osteoporosis effects an estimated 55% of people age 50 and older in the United States. But it is treatable and preventable. Early diagnosis, therapeutic intervention and the use of bone density testing to diagnose and monitor response to treatment have improved the prognosis for patients.
During the exam, your spine and hip are scanned for diagnosis of low bone mass (osteopenia) or osteoporosis. QCT is the only 3-D bone density exam, meaning it isolates the metabolically-active soft (trabecular) bone in the spine for analysis, whereas other bone density exams combine both hard (cortical) and soft bone. Since soft bone is affected earlier and to a greater degree than hard bone, QCT is likely to detect low bone mass earlier than other bone mineral density exams.
How do I prepare?
Wear metal free clothing. Please notify a member of RRC’s staff if you are nursing or if there is a chance you could be pregnant.
What can I expect during the exam?
You will be asked to lie fully clothed on a table. QCT uses x-rays; however, the amount of radiation required is less than a mammogram. BMD is measured at 3 levels of the spine. Therefore, while some skeletal sites may be normal, others may be osteoporotic and prone to fractures. QCT exams are completed in approximately 15 minutes and are the same cost as a DEXA.
Is this exam covered by insurance?
Medicare covers BMD testing every two years for the following individuals aged 65 and older:
- Estrogen deficient women at clinical risk for osteoporosis
- Individuals with vertebral abnormalities
- Individuals receiving, or planning to receive, steroid therapy
- Individuals with primary hyperparathyroidism
- Individuals being monitored to assess the response or efficacy of an approved Osteoporosis drug therapy