Bone Density (DEXA)

DEXA (Dual Energy X-ray Absorptiometry) is a test for measuring bone mineral density. The scan is a reliable test to determine early stages of bone loss associated with osteoporosis, a disease in which bone density decreases, making bones brittle and prone to fractures. The DEXA scan results are reproducible, allowing measurements to be taken over time showing progression of disease or improvement in bone density due to treatment.

The National Osteoporosis Foundation estimates 55% of people age 50 and older in the United States have osteoporosis or low bone mass. Of these, more than 14 million men and 30 million women are affected by this condition.

Osteoporosis is treatable and preventable. Early diagnosis, therapeutic intervention and the use of bone density testing to diagnose and monitor response to therapy have greatly improved the prognosis for patients.

Exam preparation

  • A SeRA representative will call you prior to your appointment to provide specific instructions, and review health and insurance information.
  • Do not take anything that contains Calcium or Milk of Magnesia the day before or the day of the exam.
  • Notify a member of CDI’s staff if you are nursing or if there is a chance you could be pregnant.
  • Please arrive 15 minutes early to verify your registration.
  • There is a 300 lb weight limit for DEXA exams.

During the exam – what to expect

  • DEXA is safe and painless, and requires no injections, invasive procedures, or sedation.
  • During the exam, you lie fully clothed on a padded table while the system scans one or more areas of bone (usually the lower spine or hip).
  • While DEXA uses x-rays, the radiation dose is less than during a chest x-ray.

After the exam – what to expect

  • A musculoskeletal radiologist who specializes in bones and muscles will review your images.
  • The radiologist prepares a diagnostic report to share with your doctor.
  • Your doctor will consider this information in context of your overall care, and talk with you about the results.

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