Dual Energy X-ray Absorptiometry (DEXA) is a convenient and painless test to identify bone density to determine whether you have osteoporosis and if you are at risk for bone fractures.
DEXA compares your Bone Mineral Density (BMD) to adults in your age group as well as young adults at peak bone strength. This information, along with other factors, helps your physician assess your risk of osteoporotic fracture.
DEXA is also useful in following bone changes over time. It can monitor the effects of age, diet and/or medications and treatments on your bone status.
What Does the Bone Density Test Using DEXA Technology Involve?
The bone densitometer has a large, padded examination table. You will be asked to lie on your back, wearing your own clothing in most cases. The technician positions your arms and legs for the test; then, you simply lie still and breathe normally. Bone density scans can be taken of the spine, hip and forearm. A radiologist interprets your scan and sends a written report to your physician.
Is Bone Density Test Using DEXA Safe?
X-rays are used, but the amount absorbed by the patient is only about one tenth of that received during a chest x-ray. The x-ray dose from DEXA is comparable to the naturally occurring environmental radiation that you are exposed to in one week.*
*Caution: Although the X-ray dose from the bone densitometry test is very low, you must inform the operator if you are pregnant or might be pregnant before your test.