What is a Bone Density (DXA/DEXA) Scan? Bone density scanning, also called dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) or bone densitometry, is a painless and easy scan that measures bone density. The DXA scan is typically used to diagnose osteoporosis and to determine a patient’s risk for developing fractures. A DXA scan takes X-rays of bones, most often performed on bones that are likely to break because of osteoporosis, including the lower spine, the narrow neck of the thigh bone where it connects to the hip, and bones in the wrist and forearm. This bone density test helps to identify the decrease in bone density before an individual breaks a bone. The higher the bone mineral content is, the denser the bone. And the denser the bone, the stronger and less likely it is to break.
How does the procedure work?
During a DXA scan, individuals lie on a padded table or platform. A mechanical arm-like device called an imager passes over the body. The machine does not touch the patient while it images the underlying bone.
The test usually takes about15 to 20 minutes to complete. The equipment measures bone density at the hip or spine and offers very precise results.
Osteoporosis is a major public health threat for 44 million Americans, and 68 percent of those at risk are women. While the disease can strike at any age, statistics indicate that one in every two women and one in four men over the age of 50 will have an osteoporosis related fracture in his or her lifetime.
Osteoporosis is one of the most under-treated but preventable conditions. To test for osteoporosis, our team of osteoporosis specialists offer the Bone Density DXA/DEXA scan.
Who should get a bone density test?
The National Osteoporosis Foundation recommends bone density testing for:
• A woman age 65 or older
• A man age 70 or older
• Someone who has broken a bone after age 50, non-traumatic
• A woman of menopausal age with risk factors
• A postmenopausal woman under age 65 with risk factors
• A man age 50 to 69 with risk factors
• Someone with long-term use of certain medications, such as thyroid meds, prednisone, or proton-pump inhibitors used for acid reflux, like Prilosec (omeprazole)
A bone density test may also be necessary if a patient has any of the following:
• An X-ray of your spine showing a break or bone loss in your spine
• Back pain with a possible break in your spine
• Height loss of ½ inch or more within one year
• Total height loss of 1½ inches from your original height
Because the most common risk factors for osteoporosis are age and gender, the disease has often been wrongly associated with elderly women. However, it is important to note that while women are more likely to be diagnosed, osteoporosis can affect men as well.
How should someone prepare for the test?
Bone density tests are easy, fast, and painless. Virtually no preparation is necessary. Prior to a scan the technician may ask if an individual recently had oral contrast or nuclear-medicine tests. These tests require an injection of radioactive tracers and may interfere with the bone density testing.
Before the scan, a patient should maintain a regular diet. Also, on the day of testing, it is best to wear loose, comfortable clothing without any metal, like zippers, buttons, or clips. Metal can affect the interpretation of a scan. A gown can be supplied if necessary.
98 Poplar St.
Blackfoot, ID 83221
Phone: (208) 785-3807