Like any procedure at AIC, we want patients to know exactly what they are getting themselves into. One procedure in particular that we want to highlight to patients is a bone densitometry exam, otherwise known as a DEXA scan.

What is a DEXA?  

A DEXA scan stands for dual energy x-ray absorptiometry, which means that a small dose of radiation is used on the bones to take pictures of the inside of the body. This exam is mostly used on the spine, hips, and knees, to indicate if the bones are as healthy as they should be.

Why is a DEXA used?

A DEXA is used mostly to diagnose osteoporosis, which is a bone disorder that involves calcium loss in the bones making them more brittle and weaker. However, DEXA scans can be utilized for other conditions of the bones other than osteoporosis. Doctors will recommend bone density testing based on a variety of risk factors.

How long does a DEXA scan take?  

A DEXA scan takes about 25 minutes, but could take longer depending on what area of the body is being examined.

What happens during the DEXA procedure?

The patient will lay on the machine and an invisible beam of x-rays will send two energy peaks through the soft tissue and then another through the bone. The amount of soft tissue is subtracted by the total, and the bone mineral density remains. If you want to see a visual of what happens during a DEXA scan, click here.

Is there any pre-exam preparation for a DEXA scan?

Yes, doctors recommend not taking any multi-vitamins or calcium supplements within 48 hours of your exam.

DEXA scans are common procedures here at AIC, and our goal is making sure every patient knows exactly what happens during a certain procedure. If you’re in need of a DEXA scan, schedule an appointment with us today. We would love to assist you with any of your medical needs to ensure you are receiving the quality care that you deserve. Make an appointment with us today for your next DEXA scan.