Why is ultrasound required when DEXA is the Gold Standard Technology?
It is true that the hospital clinicians wishing to run an osteoporosis service would, if funds were available, choose to establish a DEXA based scanning facility. In reality there are however only some 150 DEXA scanners in the UK, most GPs do not have an NHS hospital close by to which they can refer patients, and where such scanners exist there are often some 6-12 month waiting lists for referrals. The UK is bottom of the European table of countries with respect to the number of scanners per head of population (less than Turkey and Greece for example). This worrying statistic is made worse by the fact that the direct costs to the NHS in 2000 was 1.72 Billion compared to 94 million some 3 years before. Even with increased funding there will never be enough funds to purchase sufficient DEXA systems to provide tests to all postmenopausal well women in the UK. From a logistical point of view only community based ultrasound scanners can begin to address this major health epidemic.