White-Wilson Medical Center

Imaging Services Imaging Services

Dexa Scans are the most commonly used test to measure bone density.

Dexa stands for 'Dual Energy X-ray Absorptiometry'. It is the most commonly used test for measuring bone mineral density, and is one of the most accurate ways to diagnosis Osteopenia or Osteoporosis.

This test is so accurate that your follow up Dexa Scan can be used to monitor your treatment and to assess whether your treatment plan is working. Dexa Scans are more accurate than regular X-rays at measuring bone mineral density. For example, a person would need to lose 20-30% of their bone density before it would show up on an X-ray. Dexa Scans also produce less radiation then tests like a CT Scan. In fact, you are exposed to more radiation on a coast-to-coast airline flight than you are during a Dexa Scan.

Who should receive a Dexa Scan?

The National Osteoporosis Foundation's guidelines state that women over 65, younger post menopausal women who have any of the osteoporosis risk factors, as well as those with specific fractures should have a Dexa Scan. However, men are also at risk for Osteoporosis as they age - especially if they have some of the risk factors for Osteopenia or Osteoporosis.

If you have any questions about Dexa Scan, please ask your primary care physician.

Preparing for your Dexa Scan

This is a non-invasive test and requires very little preparation. You can eat and drink normally on the day of the test.

Do wear loose clothing that has no metal zippers, metal buttons etc. (or you will need to disrobe). If you wear any kind of metal jewelry, you may be asked to remove it before the test.

Be sure to tell the technician if you had hip or back surgery.

Please note:
You should not have the test if you are pregnant or think you are pregnant.

Also if you have had another X-ray with contrast media in the last 7 days (some examples: barium enema, upper GI, some CAT scans) or if you have had a nuclear scan (including bone scan and thyroid study) in the last 7 days, you should not have this test.

Getting Your Results

The radiologist will interpret your Dexa Scan and send the report to your referring provider, usually within two days. Your provider should give you the report, but we also encourage you to take responsibility to make sure you receive it.

Fully Accredited By ACR

White-Wilson Medical Center is fully accredited by the American College of Radiology.