Dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry, DEXA, or DXA, also called Bone densitometry uses a minimal dose of ionizing radiation to get pictures of the internal body parts (generally the lower (or lumbar) spine and hips) to measure bone loss. Often bone density scans are used to assess or diagnose the risk of osteoporosis, a condition where bones become weak and brittle.
When It’s Done:
One may need a bone density scan if you’re:
- Age over 50 with a risk of developing osteoporosis
- Age under 50 with other risk factors, such as smoking or a previous bone fracture
- The bone density scan results are generally used alongside a fracture risk assessment to assess the chances of osteoporosis and bone fracture.
When to Avoid:
- During Pregnancy
- Recently undergone gastrointestinal contrast or radionuclide scan.
- Fracture deformity in the measurement area or Severe degenerative changes
- Inability to remain motionless for the measurement/ Inability to attain the correct position and/or
- Extremely low body mass index or extreme obesity can inversely affect the technique and the ability to obtain accurate and precise measurements.
How to Prepare:
- On the day of the exam, diet can be normal. However, you should consume calcium supplements for at least 24 hours prior exam.
- Wear loose, comfortable clothing, and avoid garments that have belts, zippers, or buttons made of metal. In addition, keys or wallet kind of objects that would be in the scanning area must be removed.
- Inform the physician if recently you were injected with a contrast material for a CT scan or had a barium examination or radioisotope scanner. You must wait 10 to 14 days prior to undergoing a DXA test.
- Women must always tell their doctor and care technician if they are pregnant. To avoid exposing the fetus to radiation during Pregnancy doctor may not perform a few tests. If an x-ray is necessary, the doctor takes the required precautions to minimize radiation exposure to the baby.
UPDATED ON 15/11/2023