Dual Energy X-ray Absorptiometry (DEXA) Scan
What is a DEXA Scan?
A DEXA Scan is a bone density assessment used to screen for weakening of bones that could lead to osteoporosis. The test can help determine fracture risk, determine treatment options or monitor the outcomes of treatments already underway.
Patients more likely to experience bone thinning and osteoporosis:
- Are female
- Are caucasian
- Are of advanced age
- Have a history of bone fractures
- Have a small, thin frame
- Have a family history of osteoporosis
- Have had ovaries removed
- Have experienced early menopause
- Eat a low calcium diet
- Lack exercise
- Suffer eating disorders
- Take certain medicines (such as steroids)
- Use alcohol or tobacco
How Does A DEXA Scan Work?
The patient lies on the scan table, and remains still while a scanner passes over different areas of the skeleton. A low-dose x-ray beam passes through the skeleton. (This x-ray is only 10% as powerful as a chest x-ray.) The DEXA technology measures the amount of x-rays absorbed by the bones, which indicates how strong the bones are.
The test does not hurt, and takes only a few minutes.
As a precaution, alert the test operator if you are pregnant or might be pregnant.
How Do I Prepare For A DEXA Scan?
Avoid calcium supplements on the day of the exam. If possible, wear a two-piece outfit so you don't have to disrobe entirely. Avoid wearing clothing with metal (buttons or zippers, etc.).
Click here to learn more about bone density testing.