What is a DEXA Scan?
Dual Energy X-ray Absorptiometry (DEXA) is the most widely used method to measure bone mineral density. This safe exam uses only one tenth the amount of x-ray obtained in standard chest x-ray.
The bone densitometer uses small amounts of x-ray, composed of two energy levels, to produce images of the spine, hip or forearm. The spine and hip are examined because this is where osteoporotic fractures occur most often. The energy levels are absorbed differently by the bones in the body. A computer is able to determine from the differences in bone absorption how much bone mineral is present.
DEXA aids in the early detection of osteoporosis before a fracture occurs. This exam can determine your current rate of bone loss and predict your chances of future fracture. Your physician uses this information in diagnosing, prevention and treatment of osteoporosis.
Approximately 20 minutes should be allowed for the examination. You may be at The Radiology Clinic longer than that due to check-in and interview with the technologist.
If you have children, please make arrangements for childcare, as there are no childcare facilities on site. Due to radiation exposure, children are not allowed in the examination room.
Do not take any calcium supplements or multi-vitamins 24 hours prior to your exam. It is best to wear comfortable clothing without zippers, snaps, buttons or buckles.
What to Expect
You will be asked to lie on and examination table on your back in the same positions for 5 minutes for each assessment. The measurements are made with a mechanical arm which moves slowly above your body. You will not feel anything during the procedure. The information obtained by the bone densitometer is processed by a computer and made available to the radiologist for interpretation.
Your referring physician will be provided results within 2-3 working days.
If you are pregnant or feel you may be pregnant, please notify the technologist prior to your exam.