Osteoporosis

The osteoporosis centre is based on C level, west wing at Southampton General Hospital. The centre's specialty is bone densitometry.

Opening hours: 8am to 6pm, Monday to Friday, and two Saturdays per month from 9am to 1pm

Contact: Pat Taylor, clinical scientist, pat.taylor@uhs.nhs.uk

The osteoporosis centre houses two high specification bone densitometers, a HRpQCT scanner and a pQCT scanner. The centre provides bone density, bone quality, body composition and vertebral assessment scans for inpatients, outpatients and private patients. Approximately 5000 patients are seen each year. The centre also offers technical services to clinical and scientific research.

Specialist services

Bone microarchitecture plays a significant role in fracture risk but as yet there are no routine clinical tools to evaluate microstructure of bone in relation to fracture risk.

We are heavily involved in studies using peripheral quantitative computed tomography (pQCT) and high resolution pQCT to bring these techniques into routine clinical practice for improvement of fracture risk prediction and to follow structural bone changes in response to drug treatments.

Staff roles

  • Healthcare scientist (biomedical scientist or clinical scientist)
    A healthcare scientist should have a science degree and MSc in medical physics or equivalent. They plan, lead and personally participate in a bone densitometry scanning service using X-ray and pQCT equipment for inpatients and outpatients to UHS and other trusts. This service sees around 5000 patients and research participants per year. 

    This role includes a significant research and development component by co-ordinating clinical trials and reviewing results. The role also includes providing referring clinicians with clear, detailed and accurate reports and expert advice on the interpretation of the bone density scan.The healthcare scientist then advises patients on the result of bone density scans and their susceptibility to osteoporosis, and recommends appropriate lifestyle changes to reduce the onset of the disease.
  • Clinical technologists
    A clinical technologist should have a science degree. Their role involves undertaking DXA and pQCT scanning to determine bone density, bone quality and body composition. The clinical technologist then analyses the results of the scans and gives patients lifestyle advice and treatment options. They follow scanning protocols for clinical trials and research studies.
  • Admin and clerical
    Admin and clerical staff support the functions of the department. The role includes booking appointments for patients and research participants, sending out reports and answering telephone queries.

Staff profiles

Clinical technologist

During my university studies, I was welcomed at the osteoporosis centre as a volunteer for one afternoon a week, observing the role of a clinical technologist and assisting with cleaning the equipment between appointments.

Clinical technologist

After completing university, I progressed to the national training scheme for bone densitometry.

As a clinical technologist, my role is to obtain bone density scans for GPs, consultants and research studies, and provide a clinical interpretation of the results.

We use a variety of equipment including:

  • DXA (duel energy x-ray absorptiometry)
  • pQCT (peripheral quantitative computed tomography)  
  • HRPQCT (high-resolution peripheral computed tomography).

The best thing about my role is that it is varied, with the opportunity to expand my knowledge. I find this role very interesting and work with dedicated team members.

Training

We do not currently have trainees in the osteoporosis centre.

Work experience and volunteering

Work experience students and volunteers are welcome at the osteoporosis centre. If you're interested, please contact Pat Taylor.

Resources