Osteoporosis Service

The North Bristol NHS Trust Osteoporosis Service at Southmead Hospital Bristol provides a bone densitometry DXA scanning service for patients who have had a fragility fracture or are at risk of osteoporosis for other reasons.

We perform DXA scans using a Hologic Discovery bone densitometer, which uses a very low dose of X-ray in order to quickly and accurately work out your bone density. A DXA report, including recommendations for treatment, will then be sent to doctor.

According to the result, this may also include an assessment of your risk of breaking a bone over the next ten years, using the FRAX tool, which can be helpful in deciding about whether you need treatment. For more information about the FRAX tool, visit www.shef.ac.uk/FRAX

Your GP can refer you for a DXA:

  • If you are a postmenopausal woman over 50 with a low trauma fracture (defined as a limb fracture after a fall from standing height or less while stationary or walking, or a vertebral fracture of the spine)
  • Or, if you are a woman or man over 50 with a FRAX score in the intermediate or high risk zone

To make a referral, your GP needs to complete a NBT DXA request form.

In other circumstances, your GP may want to contact us first to establish eligibility (if you are ineligible for a scan under the NHS, we also offer this service self-funded at a cost of £72).

Alternatively, it may be that you are referred for a DXA scan by a hospital consultant looking after you for a condition such as breast cancer or celiac disease.

The director of this service is Professor Jon Tobias, who is also head of a University of Bristol academic group researching osteoporosis, for more information, visit www.bristol.ac.uk/clinicalsciencenorth/rheumatology

Dr Emma Clark leads on the vertebral fracture assessment. Dr Karen Harding, Dr Seema Srivastava and Dr Katherine Walsh provide the orthogeriatric service.