A DEXA Scan, or Bone Densitometry, or Bone Density Scan is a form of x-ray that is used to measure bone loss. A DEXA Scan is the current standard for measuring BMD (Bone Mineral Density). This scan involves exposing parts of the body to small amounts of ionizing radiation to take pictures of the inside of the body. Please tell the technologist if you are pregnant or there is any chance that you may be pregnant.
The most common use of the DEXA Scan is to diagnose osteoporosis, a condition that may affect women after menopause but can be found in men. Osteoporosis is a gradual thinning of the bones, causing them to become more fragile and easy to break, due to a gradual loss of calcium. The DEXA Scan will also access an individual’s risk of a bone fracture due to other medical conditions.
How to Prepare for a DEXA Scan
Expect to spend 30 minutes at the clinic for this exam. Wear comfortable clothing with no metal snaps or zippers. You may be asked to change into a gown for the exam. If you are currently taking calcium supplements, vitamins, antacids or a prescription for osteoporosis, do not take them 24 hours prior to the exam. You should not have had a barium study three days prior to your DEXA Scan.
A technologist will position you on an exam table. You will be asked to lie still and hold your breath for a few seconds while the images are being acquired.
After completion of the exam the technologist will assist you from the exam table and you can resume your normal activities.
Your physician will receive a report from the radiologist on the results of the scan.