Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences

Bone and Joint Research Group - Bone Densitometry Service

The fundamentals of a good clinical bone densitometry service are appropriately trained and experienced staff, reliable equipment, rigorous quality assurance, a medically vetted referral system and good communication between users, providers and patients.

Bone densitometry waiting and reception areas
Views of facilities: Waiting and reception areas

Our group provides a national centre of excellence in osteoporosis and bone densitometry practice, strongly influencing treatment and scanning practices across the country. We frequently speak at academic medical meetings across the many disciplines that have an interest in osteoporosis management, contributing to the maintenance of international best practice across the country. We also have advanced trainees in endocrinology, rheumatology and orthopaedics as research fellows in our group and mentor them through to consultant positions in Auckland and nationally.

We contribute to the national training service for bone densitometry technicians and reporters, furnishing most of the teaching personnel in the biannual training courses run under the auspices of the Australian and New Zealand Bone and Mineral Society and Osteoporosis New Zealand. In particular, Dr Anne Horne and our senior technician Borislav Mihov lead the technician training in these courses, and provide an ongoing reference point for queries relating to bone density scanning practice for groups around New Zealand. Professors Ian Reid and Tim Cundy are also lead contributors to these courses. Thus, the Bone and Joint Research Group has played key roles in establishing and maintaining the quality of bone densitometry services regionally and nationally, much of this activity being provided pro bono.


Bone and Joint Research Group

The group is led by Professor Ian Reid, who is also an endocrinologist at ADHB. He is the most highly cited researcher in any discipline in this country, was a co-founder of Osteoporosis New Zealand, serves on the editorial boards of the major international osteoporosis journals, serves on the Committee of Scientific Advisors of the International Osteoporosis Foundation, and has received research awards from the International Bone and Mineral Society, the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research, the European Calcified Tissue Society, the Royal Society of New Zealand, and the Health Research Council of New Zealand. He has served on a number of international treatment guidelines groups for osteoporosis and Paget’s disease.

Scanning service

The scanning service is under the management of Dr Anne Horne, who has led this team for almost 20 years. Scans are carried out by a group of 5 technicians, all of whom are university science graduates. Some of our technicians have been certified not only by the Australian and New Zealand Bone and Mineral Society, but also by the international bone densitometry quality assurance organisation, Bioclinica, who monitor scans performed in international trials. All clinical scans performed on site are reviewed by our most experienced technician (Borislav Mihov) who is ensuring maintenance of the highest standards of scanning. The research background of all our group results in a corporate expectation of precision and excellence in all our activities.

Clinical densitometry staff:

Prof Ian Reid - Endocrinologist

Dr Anne Horne - Team leader

Dr Ravi Narang - Rheumatology Research Fellow

Dr Sarah Stewart - PhD

Leanne Purvis - Receptionist

Angela Stewart - Technician

Borislav Mihov - Senior technician

Kieran Latto - Technician

Anna Mellar - Technician

Usha Bava Technician

Reporting of scans

Reports are provided by senior academics in the group or by research fellows working under their immediate oversight. These fellows specialise in osteoporosis management and receive a period of intense instruction initially, followed by ongoing oversight of their reporting activities. Senior staff are always available to advise or report difficult cases.

Bone density reporting in sick children represents a particular challenge. Density assessed with DXA scans is highly dependent on body size. Sick children often exhibit growth retardation as a consequence of their underlying illness. Thus, casual interpretation of bone density in sick children by simply using reference values from normal children of the same age can often be quite misleading. Adjustment for size, skeletal maturity and pubertal stage may all be necessary. As a result, specific guidelines have been developed by the International Society for Clinical Densitometry to guide scan interpretation. Professor Tim Cundy was the only New Zealander involved in developing these guidelines, and is by far the most expert individual in New Zealand in paediatric bone densitometry. 

One of our GE Lunar Prodigy DXA scanners
Views of facilities: One of our GE Lunar Prodigy DXA scanners


We have two GE-Lunar Prodigy densitometers, which are state-of-the-art devices, achieving high precision and short scanning times. Most scans take 40-60 seconds, compared with several minutes with the older devices used in some Auckland practices. Rapid scanning times are more comfortable and convenient for patients, and are less likely to be interfered with by patient movement, particularly important in scanning children. Having two scanners on site allows us to provide an uninterrupted service if one machine should require repairs. It also allows us to schedule more clinics should demand require. If a patient has been scanned previously by our service, every effort is made for the scan to be carried out on the same machine as on previous occasions in order to maximise reproducibility. We have specialised paediatric software on our scanners and provide a regional paediatric DXA service. 


Contact, booking and location

For any enquiries please contact our receptionists Leanne or Rhonwen on:

Phone: 09 923 8607

Email: leanne.purvis@auckland.ac.nz - Leanne Purvis


Bone & Joint Research Group is located at:

Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences

University of Auckland

Building 502, Level 4

85 Park Rd


Auckland 1023

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