A Dual-Energy X-ray Absorptiometry scan (DEXA), is a special type of x-ray that measures bone mineral density. The data obtained is compared with a young normal population of the same age and sex. This information aids your doctor in monitoring bone loss and determines the necessity, choice and efficacy of therapy.
Preparing for the Procedure
Please bring your referral (letter from your doctor) and your Medicare and/or Pension Health care card with you to your appointment. It is important to bring all previous films relating to the region being imaged. Please ensure you are on time for your appointment to ensure there is sufficient time available to perform the procedure.
You do not need to fast and you are able to drive home following your examination.
Please inform the radiographer
- If you are or you suspect you may be pregnant.
- If you have had any previous spinal or hip surgery, specifically hip replacements, screws or pins.
- If you have had any contrast media studies such as barium enemas, CT scans or nuclear medicine tests, all of which may interfere with the DEXA Scan. This can be discussed at the time of booking your Appointment.
The DEXA examination is performed on our cutting edge DEXA scanner, takes approximately 10 to 20 minutes to complete and is painless and non-invasive. Measurements will be taken from the upper lumbar vertebrae and the proximal femur.
The images are evaluated for bone mineral density and any related or incidental findings (vertebral compressions, kidney stones etc.) are noted in the report. The average bone density of the patient is then:
- Graphically compared to age and sex matched controls.
- Related to a fracture risk threshold below which most compression fractures occur.
- Categorised as to prevalence of fractures in a similar age group and bone density.
You may wait while the images are prepared and reported. You can also pick up the films and report at a later time. They can also be electronically transferred to your referring practitioner.
We understand that some patients are anxious about having tests performed. If you do have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to ask our staff. Campsie Medical Imaging strongly advises that you return to your referring doctor, in order for your doctor to discuss your DEXA report with you.
What does DEXA stand for?
DEXA stands for Dual-Energy X-ray Absorptiometry.
Does a DEXA scan hurt?
DEXA is a painless, non-invasive procedure. There are no injections or medications involved. Also, the DEXA scanner is an open machine and patients are not enclosed at any time.
How much radiation will I be exposed to when I get my DEXA?
The dose of radiation used in a DEXA scan depends on the type and number of scans you are having. However, for all scan types, the dose is very low. Even for multiple scans, the dose is minimal.
When should I get my first bone density test?
When to get your first bone density test should be determined by talking to your health care provider. Certain conditions and medications can influence when you have your first bone density test. If you are a woman age 65 or older, or if you are a man age 70 or older, you should have a bone density test.
Who should have a bone density test?
- Anyone who has had a low impact bone fracture. A low impact fracture is one that occurs when falling from sitting or standing height and typically involves a fracture of the hip, spine or forearm.
- Women age 65 or older
- Men age 70 or older
- Menopausal women with risk factors
- Postmenopausal women under age 65 with risk factors
- Men age 50-69 with risk factors
- Anyone with a broken bone after age 50
How often should a bone density test be done?
Usually a bone density test is done every two years. However, if you have certain medical conditions or take certain medications your health care provider may recommend more frequent testing.