Bone Density Scan

Grandmother and granddaughter playing by the shorelineOsteoporosis is responsible for 1.5 million fractures in the United States each year. Half of the women over age 50 can expect to suffer an osteoporotic fracture during their lifetime. Bone densitometry (DEXA scan) examinations measure the mineral content of the bone. At AMI AtlantiCare, we examine the hip, spine, and occasionally the wrist because these are the sites where osteoporosis first occurs. A dual energy beam of very low dose x-rays passes through the area being examined. The detectors then compare the amount of x-rays absorbed by the bone to the amount absorbed by the non-bony tissues of the body. DEXA scan provides a measurement of the bone mineral density so your physician can determine if you have osteoporosis and if you need to be treated. If you are being treated, a DEXA scan can monitor the effects of therapy.

Preparation for Bone Densitometry Scanning (DEXA):

  • 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, radioisotope injection, oral or intravenous contrast material from a CT scan or MRI within seven days prior to your DEXA test.