What is a “DEXA” Bone Densitometry Scan?
An enhanced form of
radiology called Dual-Energy X-ray Absorptiometry or DEXA is the established
standard for measuring bone mineral density. DEXA is a quick and painless
procedure used to diagnose osteoporosis, a condition that often affects women
after menopause but may also be found in men. The DEXA test can assess your risk
for developing fractures and allow your physician to develop a treatment plan if
necessary to prevent fractures before they occur.
Who should consider having a bone density test?
Bone density testing is recommended if you:
- Are a post-menopausal women not taking estrogen
- Have a personal or maternal history of hip fracture or smoking
- Are a post-menopausal woman who is tall (over 5 feet 7 inches) or thin (less
than 125 pounds)
- Are a man with clinical conditions associated with bone loss
- Use medications that are known to cause bone loss, including corticosteroids
such as Prednisone, various anti-seizure medications or high dose thyroid
- Have type 1 diabetes
How is the scan done?
The bone density test takes 10 to 30 minutes during which time you are asked
to lie still on a large flat table while the arm of the machine passes over your
body. The DEXA machine will send a thin, invisible beam of low-dose x-rays
through your bones. A computer in the machine calculates your bone density.
How do I schedule an appointment?
A physician’s order is required to perform a DEXA scan. Appointments can be
scheduled for DEXA scans by calling Central Scheduling at 520-469-8810.
How do I get my results?
The results of the bone density exam are interpreted by one of our
board-certified radiologists. The report is sent to your physician who can
discuss the results with you.