DEXA Scans – Bones Density Tests for Osteoporosis

DEXA scans (DEXA stands for dual energy X-ray absorptiometry) are bone density tests used to diagnose osteoporosis or thinning of the bone. These bone density scans help predict future fracture risks and are used to guide treatment plans for osteoporosis management. Utilizing a Hologic Discovery bone density scanner, Access Sports Medicine uses the gold standard in technology to diagnose osteoporosis.

Who is at Risk for Osteoporosis?

The National Osteoporosis Foundation describes two types of risk factors for osteoporosis: those we can control and those we cannot control.

Uncontrollable Risk Factors

  • Being over age 50
  • Being female
  • Menopause
  • Family history of osteoporosis
  • Low body weight/being small and thin
  • Broken bones or height loss

Controllable Risk Factors

  • Not getting enough calcium and vitamin D
  • Not eating enough fruits and vegetables
  • Getting too much protein, sodium and caffeine
  • Having an inactive lifestyle
  • Smoking
  • Drinking too much alcohol
  • Losing weight

Who Should Get a DEXA Scan?

The National Osteoporosis Foundation recommends having a DEXA scan bone density test if:

  • You are a woman age 65 or older
  • You are a man age 70 or older
  • You break a bone after age 50
  • You are a woman of menopausal age with risk factors
  • You are a postmenopausal woman under age 65 with risk factors
  • You are a man age 50-69 with risk factors


Plaistow, NH Orthopaedic Clinic

13 Plaistow Road
Plaistow, NH 03865

54 million

The number of U.S. adults age 50 and older that are affected by osteoporosis and low bone mass, according to the National Osteoporosis Foundation.

Evaluating Bone Density

Access Sports Medicine utilizes state-of-the-art technology to diagnose and treat osteoporosis.

Our staff understands and recognizes the importance of providing current and accurate workers’ compensation information and patient progress reports in a timely manner. Above all, our focus is on the recovery process and getting patients back to work quickly.

Request an Appointment

DEXA Scan Specialists

DEXA scans are performed by radiology technicians. The results are then interpreted by practitioners such as endocrinologists, rheumatologists, orthopaedic specialists or other providers specializing in bone health. 

How long does a DEXA scan appointment take?

The actual procedure takes less than 15 minutes. Then your doctor will sit down with you to review the results, evaluate risk factors of osteoporosis and make recommendations on a plan of care, which takes about half an hour and can be done in the same visit.

Are there any side effects to receiving a DEXA scan?

There are no side effects. DEXA scans have less radiation exposure than a chest X-ray or a cross-country flight on an airplane!

Will insurance cover a DEXA scan?

Every insurance plan is different. Please confirm coverage by verifying with your insurer.

Is a DEXA scan similar to an MRI or ultrasound?

No. A DEXA scan uses completely different technology that’s specifically for measuring bone density.

Does a DEXA scan need to be done frequently, or is it a one-time scan?

Depending on the results, a DEXA scan may need to be repeated in two- to five-year intervals if treatment is started for osteoporosis. This helps determine how well the treatment plan is working and if any adjustments need to be made.

If the bone density result is in the osteopenia range, meaning low bone density but not meeting the criteria for osteoporosis, testing may be repeated as bone density decreases with age and can possibly become osteoporosis. Scans may also be recommended if there has been a significant change in health that would predispose someone to an unusually high rate of bone loss.