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Dexa Scan

DEXA Scan - Bone Densitometry

What is a DEXA scan?

DEXA Scan stands for Dual Energy X-Ray Absorptiometry. It is a method of Bone Mineral Density Assessment used at the Ogden Clinic to:

  • Detect the presence of osteoporosis in men and women with particular risk factors
  • Screen for osteoporosis, particularly in women making decisions about hormone replacement therapy at menopause
  • Predict future fracture risk
  • Monitor bone density in those with low normal levels and in those with osteoporosis undergoing treatment.

Common uses of a Dexascan:

DEXA scan is used at the Ogden Clinic to diagnose osteoporosis in people with the following risk factors:

  • Female
  • Caucasian
  • Advanced age
  • History of bone fracture
  • Small thin frame
  • Family history of osteoporosis
  • Removal of the ovaries
  • Early menopause
  • Low calcium diet
  • Lack of exercise
  • Eating disorders
  • Certain medicines (such as steroids or anticonvulsants)
  • Alcohol and tobacco

How does it work?

Certified medical personnel at the Ogden Clinic will ask you to lie without moving on the scan table. You will be able to breathe normally throughout the bone densitometry procedure. A scanner will pass over one area of your skeleton: your lower spine, wrist or hip. A dual energy beam of very low dose x-rays then passes through that area of your body and is measured by a detector. You will not feel anything during the exam. The scan is repeated for a second skeletal area. DEXA scan technology works by measuring the amount of x-rays absorbed by the bones in your body. The two x-ray energies allow the machine to differentiate between bone and soft tissue, giving an extremely accurate estimation of bone density.

Patient Comfort:

You will not feel any discomfort during the bone densitometry procedure. Even though x-rays are used, the amount absorbed by the patient is only about 1/10th of that received from a chest x-ray. Other x-ray procedures have even higher x-ray doses. The x-ray dose from the bone densitometry test is comparable to the naturally occurring radiation you are exposed to in an average week.

Caution: Even though the x-ray dose from the bone densitometry test is very low, please inform the operator if you are pregnant or might be pregnant before your test.

Preparation required:

Eat normally on the day of the exam, but avoid calcium supplements the day of your appointment. If possible, wear a two-piece outfit so you will not need to disrobe entirely and avoid wearing clothing with metal (buttons, zippers, etc.).

After the test:

Patients can resume normal activities after the test.