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Dual-Energy X-ray Absorptiometry (DEXA) examinations estimate the amount of bone mineral content in specific areas of your body. DEXA exams measure the amount of x-rays that are absorbed by the bones in your body. Two x-ray energies allow the radiologist to tell the difference between bone and soft tissue, giving a very accurate estimation of bone density. Often confused with a nuclear medicine bone scan, a bone density scan is faster and does not require a radionuclide injection.
You will be asked to lie very still on the scan table and you will be able to breathe normally throughout the procedure. A scanner arm will pass over the area of interest, for example, your lower spine or hip. A dual energy beam of x-ray passes through your body and is measured by a detector in the scanner arm. An exam usually consists of a spine, a single scan of the hip and a single scan of the forearm. On average, it will take about twenty minutes for the entire exam.
Unless instructed otherwise, eat normally on the day of the exam, but avoid calcium supplements for two hours prior to your appointment. Avoid wearing clothing with metal. Sweat suits or other casual attire without zippers are usually acceptable.
After your study is over, the test will be evaluated by one of our board-certified radiologists, with expertise in bone density testing. A final report will be sent to your doctor who can then discuss the results with you in detail.
Should you have any questions regarding the osteoporosis scan exam, we will be glad to discuss them with you.