What is a DEXA Scan?
A DEXA scan (Dual Energy X-ray Absorption) bone density study measures the calcium content (density) of your bones. A scanner that emits minute amounts of x-rays is used for this exam. Scans of your lower back, hip, or forearm are most often taken. You are having this exam because you may be at risk for OSTEOPOROSIS (loss of bone mass). This exam can also show whether your medications are slowing down bone loss.
Before Your Exam
Wear clothing with no metal closures, such as zippers. You may have to remove your watch or metal items that can affect exam results. You may be asked to wear a gown. This test takes 10 to 15 minutes.
Let the Technologist know:
- If you are pregnant or think you may be
- If you have any metal in the part of your body being imaged, such as spinal fusion rods or a hip replacement
- If you have had a recent nuclear medicine scan or a barium enema
- If you have a severely curved spine, have had spinal surgery, or can't lie on your back
During Your Exam
You will be asked to lie on a table or sit down. For part of the test, your lower legs may be raised on a platform. This will help ensure that the images taken will be clear. A scanner will be above you. This arc will move back and forth over the part of the body being scanned.
Approximate Exam Time: 30 minutes
After Your Exam
When your exam is over, you may need to wait briefly while the images are being reviewed. You can return to your normal routine.