What is a DEXA?
Bone Densitometry or DEXA (short for dual energy X-ray absorptiometry) scans provide physicians with an early diagnostic tool by which to determine whether osteoporosis treatment is needed. Early post-menopausal women benefit the most from this type of testing.
What to Expect
During a comprehensive examination with DEXA, you will lie comfortably still on a padded table while the DEXA unit scans two or more areas, usually the fracture-prone hip and spine. Unlike typical X-ray machines, radiation exposure during bone densitometry is extremely low-less than the radiation exposure during a coast-to-coast airline flight. The entire process takes only minutes to complete, depending on the number of sites scanned. It involves no injections or invasive procedures, and you may remain fully clothed.
Preparing for Bone Densitometry
Unless instructed otherwise, eat normally on the day of the exam, but avoid taking calcium supplements for at least 24-hours prior to your appointment. Wear loose, comfortable clothing. Sweat suits and other casual attire without zippers, buttons, grommets or any metal are preferred. You should not have had a barium study, radio-isotope injection, oral or intravenous contrast material from a CT scan or MRI within seven days prior to your DEXA test.