Bone Densitometry, also known as Dual-Energy X-ray Absorption or DEXA, is a form of medical imaging technology which uses small amounts of radiation to determine bone density.
Bone Densitometry is a painless test to help your doctor diagnose osteoporosis or to determine whether certain steps should be taken to protect your bone health.
The results from your DEXA exam will be compared with the peak bone mass of the average healthy same sex adult. A bone densitometry exam is more precise than conventional diagnostic imaging (X-rays) and can help to diagnose bone loss at an early stage.
Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or suspect you may be pregnant. Your doctor may decide whether to postpone the exam or use an alternative exam such as ultrasound to reduce the possible risk of exposing your baby to radiation.
Let your doctor know if you have recently had a barium exam or have been injected with a contrast medium for a CT or radioisotope scan. Your doctor may wish to postpone a DEXA test for 5 - 7 days.
You may eat normally on the day of your exam. You should avoid taking calcium supplements for at least 24 hours prior to your exam.
The DEXA bone density exam typically takes 15 - 20 minutes to complete depending on the part of your body being examined and the type of equipment used.
Our technologist will prepare and guide you by explaining the procedure, assisting in removal of clothing or piercings (if any) and positioning you to ensure the highest quality images are obtained from your exam.
The technologist performs the exam and can always see and hear you. The technologist may ask and assist you with changing positions in order to obtain images from multiple areas of interest.
The DEXA exam has 2 parts, one to assess your spine, the other to assess your hips. For the spine scan, you will lie flat on your back with your legs elevated. For the hip scan you will lie flat on your back with your legs outstretched. Both hips are scanned unless you have had a hip replacement, in which case the hip without replacement would be scanned. If both hips have been replaced, only your spine will be scanned.
For both parts, the detector portion of the machine will slowly pass over the area without direct contact with your body. At no time is your body confined, enclosed or your face covered.
Results are available within 24 - 48 hours.
Once the exam is complete, a physician will review the study and dictate a report. This report will be sent to the doctor who ordered your study. We recommend that you call and schedule a follow-up appointment with your healthcare provider to discuss the results.
Typically, the healthcare provider calls, faxes or submits an online request for the DEXA scan. Then we call you to confirm your appointment date and time. However, if your healthcare provider asks you to schedule your exam, simply call us or visit our Request an Appointment page. We will make sure the exam is timely and convenient and that it meets any special requirements of your insurance carrier and healthcare provider.
When you call, we will need to know which exam your healthcare provider ordered and why. We will also ask you for your insurance information. You will need to pay any co-pay or deductible at the time of the exam. We conveniently file your claim with your insurance provider.
Most of our facilities offer same-day (insurance permitting), evening and weekend appointments. Prior to your appointment, we will give you the estimated total cost, what you will owe at the time of service, and payment options. We will also fax reports and provide images to your healthcare provider.