Dexa Scan (Bone Density Scanning)
Bone density scanning, also known as DEXA, DXA, or bone densitometry, is an enhanced form of x-ray technology that is used to measure bone loss. DXA is today’s established standard for measuring bone mineral density (BMD) to assess a patient for osteopenia (diminished bone density) or osteoporosis (when bones become brittle and fragile from loss of tissue).
DXA is a painless, noninvasive procedure similar to an x-ray. A moveable arm passes over the area to be tested, which may include your hip, spine or forearm. The test is completed in a matter of minutes and radiation exposure is minimal. A questionnaire identifying risk factors is completed before the test. The physician will use the responses to your questionnaire along with the results of the DXA test to provide a report to your doctor. This report is forwarded to your doctor for him or her to review with you.
Bone density tests are the best way to measure the density of bones. They can help your doctor diagnose osteoporosis, particularly in the early stages before broken bones occur. And when tests are repeated over time, they can help track any further bone loss or measure response to treatment.
If you have been scheduled for a DXA bone density test at our facility, please print and complete the Bone Density Questionnaire and bring the completed form with you to your appointment.
Preparing for your Bone Density Scanning
In preparation for your bone density scan, please wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing with no buttons, zippers or metal decorations. Avoid wearing jeans or denim as the material is dense and can affect the results.
If you take calcium supplements, vitamin D in pill form, and/or a multivitamin that contains calcium, stop taking these supplements 48 hours before your test to ensure accurate test results. You may take other medications.
If you are scheduled for any upcoming contrast study (e.g., CT scan, MRI, nuclear medicine study or angiography); please schedule your bone density scanning at least 72 hours after the contrast study is done to allow the contrast to leave your system.