Machine meant to measure bone mineral

A Dexa-scan machine,which was bought by Post-Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) around seven years ago costing above Rs 20 lakh,has been lying defunct on the hospital premises for more than a year.

Written by TANBIR DHALIWAL | Chandigarh | Published:June 23, 2013 4:42 am

A Dexa-scan machine,which was bought by Post-Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) around seven years ago costing above Rs 20 lakh,has been lying defunct on the hospital premises for more than a year.

Dexa-scanning is widely used for measuring bone mineral density which is then compared to the normal density of an individual’s age. With enough number of patients complaining about bone-related problems like osteoporosis,the importance of Dexa-scanning machine increases,especially at the city’s tertiary care institute.

Dr N Khandelwal,head of Department,Radio Diagnosis and Imaging,confirmed that the Dexa-scan had been lying defunct for long time,but refused to comment on the steps taken to repair the machine. “We are buying a new machine within a month,” he said.

The machine is out of order due to some technical problem. “It is difficult to repair the machine in India,as it was imported from a foreign country. Its spare parts are not available in India,” said an official.

A large section of society needs Dexa-scanning test,especially women who reach post-menopausal age,people above 50 years of age,people who have been using steroids for long time,epileptic and diabetic patients.

There is a huge gap between prices of the test conducted at government hospitals and private hospitals. The test is very expensive in the private hospitals.

According to Dr Sudhir Garg,head of Orthopaedics Department,GMCH-32,the fee of Dexa-scanning at government hospitals is minimal in comparison to private labs. “At GMCH-32,we charge only Rs 100 and Rs 200 from general and private ward patients respectively. For poor patients,it is totally free. However,in private hospitals,the price of the test goes up to Rs 3,000,” he said. “Dexa-scan machine is very useful in measuring accurate bone mineral density of patients. With the increase in bone-related problems among people,the machine has become more important.”

He added,“Looking at the increasing demand,the hospital purchased the machine around four years back from an American company. It cost us about Rs 20 lakh at that time. The machine is very useful and is an asset for the hospital.”

Earlier,X-rays and ultra-sonic machines were used to measure bone mineral density,but Dexa-scanning is more precise and can detect even small changes in bone mass. Further,it is more flexible since it can be used to examine both the spine and the extremities.

The scan is done lying down on your back,with your legs slightly raised by a supporting block. The scan generally takes 15 minutes or less,and can often be scheduled the same day. It exposes the patient to less radiation and is more sensitive and accurate at measuring subtle changes in bone mineral density over time or in response to drug therapy.

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