Bone Density Scan(DEXA)
The procedure which involves the evaluation of bone mineral density is called a DEXA scan (Dual Energy X-ray Absorptiometry). DEXA scan is one of the best detectors of bone mineral density. The use of low dose radiation in conjunction with highly sophisticated computerized analysis provides unique and accurate information. It measures bone mineralization and detects osteoporosis or bone loss due to menopause, medications, or other risk factors.
Bone densitometry involves an extremely small dose of radiation. How small? An AP spine scan delivers less than one-tenth the dosage of a chest X-ray. It is comparable to the amount received on a transcontinental airline flight.
Calcium supplements can interfere with the accuracy of bone density testing, we advise you to stop taking calcium supplements for 24 hours prior to your exam. The DEXA scan may not be recommended for pregnant women and for patients who have recently undergone a barium exam or an imaging procedure with contrast agent. Please inform your technician if there is a chance you may be pregnant and if you have had any imaging tests done recently.
What to Expect
You may be asked to wear an exam gown for the test in order to minimize interference from dense parts of clothing. You will be asked to lie down on the exam table. The x-ray beam will pass over your body part during the exam. You will be asked to hold very still during the exam in order to achieve the most accurate reading possible. The procedure is painless and should take anywhere from 10-20 minutes.