partner in fracture prevention

Information for Practitioners

1. Why refer to Osteoscan?

Osteoscan offers doctors services not always available with other providers. Osteoscan’s reporting system and approach are based not only on the bone density test and medical information, but also the patient’s lifestyle factors which are closely examined. The report that you receive reflects this by providing you with detailed clinical comments and recommended treatment.

The Vertebral Fracture Assessment (VFA) allows the detection of vertebral fractures commonly seen in patients with osteoporosis. Along with the bone mineral density (BMD) report, the VFA provides a more complete picture of the patient’s bone health.

Osteoscan also offers a bone resorption marker test which helps determine the rate of bone loss and/or whether the current treatment for osteoporosis is working effectively.

Osteoscan has been involved in many international drug trials for over 30 years, and continues to participate in research.

2. Vertebral Fracture Assessment

The Vertebral Fracture Assessment is a fast and convenient way of screening patients for vertebral fractures and is carried out immediately after a BMD and with minimal patient inconvenience.

The effective radiation dose for a VFA is only 5 micro-Sieverts versus 600 micro-Sieverts for a lateral lumbar spine X-ray or around4 chest X-rays’ equivalent radiation

Vertebral Fracture (VF) is the most common type of fragility fracture, yet most VFs are not clinically apparent. VFs are associated with a significant increase in morbidity and mortality and risk of future fracture[1]

The sensitivity and specificity of VFA compare favourably with spine radiographs in the ability to diagnose grade 2 and 3 VFs. VFA involves less radiation, lower cost and often greater patient convenience than spine radiography[1]

VFA is a technology which reliably and accurately diagnoses VFs with greater patient convenience, less radiation exposure and lower cost than standard spine radiography[2]

The combined report generated for both BMD and VFA provides an enhanced clinical picture which may contribute to future treatment decisions

To order a vertebral fracture assessment please ensure you tick the appropriate box on the referral form


[1] Lewiecki E.M. and Laster A.J., ‘CLINICAL Applications of Vertebral Fracture Assessment By Dual –Energy X-Ray Absorptiometry (DEXA). The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism Vol 91, No11, 4215-4222. Copyright: The Endocrine Society.

[1] Vokes et al, 2006. Vertebral Fracture Assessment: The 2005 ISCD Official Positions. Journal of Clinical Densitometry, 9:37-46.

3. Referral Form

A4 size referral forms are available on request. Please phone (08) 8293 8349 or email us – or fax us on (08) 8490 9733 .

4. Research trials

Osteoscan has been involved for many years in clinical research trials. Osteoscan has provided scanning services to many leading research organisations undertaking research and clinical trial for many large pharmaceutical companies.

This work involves testing the Bone Mineral Density of groups of volunteers who agree to take either the trial drug or a placebo to help determine the efficacy and safety of the drug before it can be given to patients. The volunteers are tested several times during the trial and the resulting scans are sent to an appropriate international monitoring company which is responsible for the maintenance of the high quality work throughout the trial. It has been very gratifying to be a part of this process which has resulted in several new treatments being approved for the public’s use.

Our technical staff have to be specially approved for this work.

5. What does Medicare cover?

Prior to 1st November 2017 all 70 year olds were entitled to a Medicare rebate. The government has now amended this arrangement and from 1st November 2017 entitlement to the Medicare rebate for over 70 year olds will not be guaranteed. All patients 70 years and over are eligible for an initial scan. Patients over 70 years who are eligible for rebate & are non-concession card holders will be required to pay $150 on the day of the appointment and they will receive the rebate of $95.35 back the next business day.

Under 70 without a concession/pension card there is an upfront payment of $150 – If patients are eligible under a Medicare Item number they will receive a rebate back from Medicare the next business day of $95.35.

Under 70 with a concession/pension care but aren’t eligible for a Medicare item number the cost will be $90.

All patients have an out of pocket cost of $70 if the Vertebral Fracture Assessment is requested.

6. What reporting will I get back?

Reports are either faxed, sent via HealthLink or sent out in the mail.