Bone Density

Bone Densitometry, also referred to as DEXA SCAN, uses x-rays to measure bone density and size. This allows the physician to evaluate any weakening of the bones, which is known as Osteoporosis.

The Bone Densitometry Scan (DEXA Scan) is a computerized exam that will provide you with your bone mineral density level. This examination uses small amounts of radiation to determine bone density. Your results are compared with the average bone density of healthy young adults of your gender at their peak bone mass. These test results are more sensitive than ordinary x-rays and can diagnose bone loss, but are not sensitive enough to detect bone loss until at least 30% of bone mass has been lost.

A special preparation is required prior to this procedure.

Your physician must order and schedule this procedure with the Diagnostic Imaging Department.

What to expect

The test takes approximately 10-15 minutes and is painless.

You will be asked to undress and wear a hospital gown for the procedure. We cannot scan anything with metal, so you will also be asked to remove anything with metal, including jewelry and glasses.

You will be asked to lie flat on your back on the scanner table. The test is completed in two parts: a spine scan and a left hip scan. With the spine scan, you lie flat on our back. For the hip scan, you will lie flat on your back with your legs outstretched. If the patient has had a hip replacement on the left hip, then the right hip will be used. A part of the scanner will move over you during the procedure, but does not touch you or does not cover your face. It does not give you a feeling of confinement.

The back and hip are the targeted areas for this scan, since these are the areas that fractures usually occur. These areas are also weight-bearing areas of the body, and they usually provide a more accurate reading for bone density.

With the results of your bone density exam, you and your physician can determine what lifestyle changes or treatment measures should be taken, or if additional tests are appropriate.

The report will be forwarded to your physician within 2-3 days days.