Convenience is important so we offer Bone Density exams and can often accommodate same-day exams and flexible scheduled appointments.
A Better Bone Density Experience.
What is a Bone Density exam?
Bone Densitometry, also called dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry, DEXA or DXA, uses a very small dose of ionizing radiation to produce pictures of the inside of the body (usually the lumbar spine and hips) to measure bone mineral density or bone mass. It is commonly used to diagnose osteoporosis, to assess an individual’s risk for developing osteoporotic fractures. DEXA is simple, quick and noninvasive. It’s also the most commonly used and the most standard method for diagnosing osteoporosis.
This simple 10-minute procedure compares your bone density to that of the average bone density of a 30-year old healthy woman.
Your provider can use the results of your test to recommend treatment programs designed to slow down or even reverse the degenerative effects of osteoporosis. In this way, bone densitometry measurements are an important part of proactive treatment programs designed to prevent loss of bone mass and avoid debilitating bone fractures caused by osteoporosis.
Measurements of bone density can help with the following:
- Detect osteoporosis before bone fractures occur
- Predict your chances of future bone fractures
- Determine your rate of bone loss
- Monitor the effects of bone replacement therapy
You might have a whole-body scan or of a scan of:
- your hip and spine, also known as Central DEXA, which requires lying on a table.
- your finger, hand, forearm or foot, also known as Peripheral DEXA, which uses a small device
Neither procedure hurts. These scans only take a few minutes.
Your scan results will show two types of scores. Together they provide a picture of your risk for breaking bones.
This number compares the amount of bone you have to a young adult of the same gender with peak bone mass.
- Over -1 = Normal bone density
- Between -1 and -2.5 = You might have osteopenia, the first stage of bone loss
- Below -2.5 = You may have osteoporosis
This number compares the amount of bone you have to other people of your age group, gender and race.
A score below -2 is considered abnormal.
If you are over the age of 50 with a family history of osteoporosis or symptoms such as unusual fractures, you should consult with a physician to determine if you need a DEXA scan.
At AU Health Imaging, we understand that the cost of an imaging exam can be a concern. Our rates for both insured and uninsured patients are substantially lower than the same exam performed at a hospital. We believe that price transparency is important so you can be prepared for your financial obligations, if any. To learn more about what your exam may cost, please click here.
The radiologist will review the DEXA images and provide a diagnostic report that will be sent directly to your provider. The report is typically available to your provider within 24-48 hours. Many providers plan scheduled time to discuss results with their patients so you could check with their office to see when they will be available to review the information with you.
Prep for your exam
- Do not take calcium for 48 hours prior to the exam.