A bone density test is used to determine whether a patient has osteoporosis or not, according to Mayo Clinic. During a bone density test, x-rays are used to determine how many milligrams of bone minerals are present in a specific section of bone, such as the hip, forearm or spine.
Doctors use bone density tests to confirm a diagnosis of osteoporosis and to monitor the disease. This test tells the doctor how strong a patient's bones are. The more concentration of minerals in the bone sample taken, the more dense, or strong, the bone is, according to Mayo Clinic. A bone density test is different than a bone scan, which is used to detect abnormalities in the bones.