Bone densitometry, also called dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry, DEXA or DXA, uses a very small dose of ionizing radiation to produce pictures of the inside of the body (usually the lower (or lumbar) spine and hips) to measure bone loss. It is commonly used to diagnose osteoporosis, to assess an individual’s risk for developing osteoporotic fractures.
DXA is simple, quick and noninvasive. It’s also the most commonly used and the most standard method for diagnosing osteoporosis. Utilizing a Hologic Discovery bone density scanner, Access Sports Medicine uses the gold standard in technology to diagnose osteoporosis.
This exam requires little to no special preparation.
- On the day of the exam you may eat normally, but should not take calcium supplements for at least 24 hours before your exam.
- Wear loose, comfortable clothing, avoiding garments that have zippers, belts or buttons made of metal. Objects such as keys or wallets that would be in the area being scanned should be removed. You will be asked to remove some of your clothes and to wear a gown during the exam. You may also be asked to remove jewelry, removable dental appliances, eye-glasses and any metal objects or clothing that might interfere with the x-ray images.
- Inform your physician if you recently had a barium examination or have been injected with a contrast material for a computed tomography (CT) scan or radioisotope scan. You may have to wait 10 to 14 days before undergoing a DXA test.
- Women should always inform their physician and x-ray technologist if there is any possibility that they are pregnant. Many imaging tests are not performed during pregnancy so as not to expose the fetus to radiation. If an x-ray is necessary, precautions will be taken to minimize radiation exposure to the baby.