Bone Density Scans

What is a DEXA Bone Density Scan?

DEXA stands for Dual Energy X-ray Absorpitometry.  DEXA scans (bone densitometry) are medical imaging tests that physicians use to diagnose osteoporosis by measuring bone mineral density.  DEXA uses low dose ionizing radiation and computers to measure the strength of your bones and calculate a personalized risk for fracture.  A DEXA scan can measure the bone mineral in the spine, hips, forearm or heel.


DEXA scans are ordered for people who:

  • Fracture bones after minor trauma (fall)

  • Have a thyroid or parathyroid condition

  • Are on steroid therapy (long-term)

  • Have kidney or liver disease

  • Are type 1 diabetics

  • Are post-menopausal women


What to do before your DEXA scan:

It helps to be prepared in advance of your appointment time.  If your insurance requires a referral please be sure to obtain one before your appointment.  Do not take any calcium supplements 24 hours before your DEXA Scan test.

What to expect during and after your DEXA Scan:

  • The DEXA scan appointment may take up to 30 minutes. Plan accordingly.
  • Wear comfortable clothing without zippers and metal buttons.
  • You will be asked to lie down on a table for the scan.


The scan is a painless procedure, so relax and the machine will do all the work.