A bone density exam, also known as a DEXA (dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry) scan, is specifically designed to measure bone mineral density (BMD). Your BMD is an indication of how strong and healthy your bones are and plays an important role in assessing possible bone loss. If you BMD is low, you could be at risk for serious problems like bone breaks (i.e. fractures) or conditions like osteopenia or osteoporosis that can cause bones to be fragile and thin.
Your doctor will evaluate your DEXA scan results along with risk factors for osteoporosis such as age, family history, and previous fractures to make a diagnosis and determine the next steps to help ensure your bones remain strong and healthy.
Before your DEXA:
The scan is quick, simple, and painless, and does not require any major preparation. Some of the instructions that you may receive from healthcare professional may include:
Wear loose, comfortable clothing.
Be prepared to remove clothing; you may be asked to change into a gown.
If possible, avoid wearing belts, buttons, or jewelry made of metal; you may be asked to remove these items during the procedure.
During your DEXA:
A technologist will give you specific instructions so that the best images can obtained. Generally, the following will occur:
You will be asked to lie on a padded table.
When the technologist is ready to take the x-ray, you will be asked to remain very still.
You may even be asked to hold your breath while the x-ray is taken.
These steps may be repeated several times depending on how many images the doctor has requested.
We ask that you please check with your insurance coverage regarding DEXA scans prior to your appointment.