DEXA – Bone Density
Osteoporosis is a relatively common condition among men and women that can result in bone fractures. It is also the most common cause of low bone mineral density. A bone density scan is a non-invasive test that measures the amount of bone in the major weight-bearing areas of the body, such as the lumbar spine, the hip, and the forearm. This helps to detect the early stages of osteoporosis. A bone density scan is an important screening test because people with osteoporosis may not have any symptoms. Early diagnosis of osteoporosis enables your provider to proactively reduce your risk for fractures.
The test uses dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DEXA) and is a pain-free process that uses very low doses of radiation and lasts only about 10-30 minutes.
Before Your Bone Density Scan
We want you to have the best experience during your scan. Please keep these things in mind:
- Bone density scans should not be performed for one week following a nuclear examination or any barium examination such as barium swallow, GI series, barium enema, or abdominal CT.
- Avoid taking calcium supplements, including TUMS antacids, or multivitamins for at least 24 hours prior to your scan.
- On the day of your scan, wear loose, comfortable clothing, preferably without metal (ie zippers, buttons, underwire bras).
During Your Bone Density Scan
You will lie on your back on a padded platform while a mechanical arm passes over your body using low dose x-rays to measure your bone density.
Understanding Your Results
You can return to your normal activities right away. A report will be sent to your provider who will then relay your results to you. Your report will include the measurement of your bone density and how it has changed over time and also include general recommendations for medical management.
To learn more, please talk to your healthcare provider.