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Bone Densitometry


DEXA

Dual Energy X-Ray Absorptiometry is performed on an x-ray unit specifically designed for bone mass measurement. DEXA uses fan beam x-ray technology to sample a slightly wider area surrounding specific vertebrae in the lumbar spine. DEXA also samples bone mass in an area of the hip. Because DEXA scans an area of the hip as well as specific areas of the lumbar spine, it is widely used to predict the likelihood of hip fracture.

Why do I need this exam?

With age, our bones begin to lose calcium more quickly than the body can replace it. This disease process is referred to as “osteopenia,” in its mildest form and “osteoporosis” in its more advanced stage. As the disease progresses, the bones become brittle and weak, making them more likely to fracture. The bones most prone to have severe fracture are those in the hips and spine. 

While Osteoporosis affects many people as they grow older, early detection can help you develop a bone-health program with your doctor, allowing you to slow-down development of the disease and experience a greater quality of life. 

What should I expect when I arrive?

When you arrive at The Imaging Center you will be asked to fill out basic information about your health background. You will be greeted by a technologist, who will explain to you the exam and ask any additional questions. You will be led into a room designed specifically for bone testing and asked to lie on a comfortable table upon which the exam will be performed. Much like a traditional x-ray, there is no discomfort or feeling of claustrophobia. 

How long will the exam take?

The exam will take about 20 minutes. Please allow 10 additional minutes for registration and dressing time. 

Safety of DEXA exams

There are no known side effects from the low dose of radiation that one receives from these exams. It is, however, important to inform the technologist if you are or could be pregnant. 

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