DEXA: Exams & Preparations
What is a DEXA scan?
(Dual-Energy X-ray Absorptiometry) is an enhanced X-ray image of the skeletal system that provides the most accurate measurements of bone density available. During the procedure, a beam of low-dose X-rays is targeted at the area, usually the lower spine and hips. The energy is measured as it is absorbed by soft tissue and by bone, and special computer software then processes the gathered information. DEXA scan’s are an important tool for early diagnosis of osteoporosis and in many cases recognize the disease before the symptoms occur. A DEXA scan may also be used to follow the progress of treatments for such conditions, and to gauge the patient’s risk of developing bone fractures.
What is Osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis is a disease in which bones become fragile and more likely to break. If not prevented or if left untreated, osteoporosis can progress painlessly until a bone breaks. These broken bones occur typically in the hip, spine, and wrist. Hip and Spine fractures can be very severe and debilitating. Millions of Americans are at risk. While women are four times more likely than men to develop the disease, men also suffer from osteoporosis. For these reasons, accurate osteoporosis screening is crucial for fighting this disease.
About the Procedure:
The scanner passes over your lower spine, wrist or hip and measures the density of the bone. DEXA exams are painless and take 10-30 minutes. Your results will be reviewed by one of our physicians on the day of your exam and then the results will be forwarded to your doctor.
What to expect when you’re having a DEXA scan:
At the time of examination, you will be asked to lie down on the scan table in a relaxed position. We ask you to wear clothing that is comfortable, and does not have any metal zippers or buttons so that disrobing may not be needed. You will also be asked to stop taking your Osteoporosis medications or calcium supplements for 48 hours prior to the exam.