DEXA Bone Densitometry FAQs

What is a DEXA scan?

A DEXA scan is a low dose x-ray that checks for signs of mineral loss and bone thinning. The x-rayed areas are usually the spine, the hip and the wrist. A DEXA scan delivers a minute amount of radiation. It is a simple painless procedure which takes about 15 minutes.

When should a woman have a DEXA scan?

For women, the best time to have a DEXA scan is around menopause when the estrogen production in your body starts to decline and you become susceptible for bone loss and fractures. It is also a good time to establish a baseline measurement for future comparison.

How should I prepare for the DEXA scan?

You will be asked to wear a comfortable two piece outfit or you may put on a gown. You must not wear any metal buttons, buckles or zippers, as these materials may interfere with your results.

What happens during the DEXA scan procedure?

You will be asked to lie down on your back and side on the exam table. An overhead scanner will travel above your body and take readings of the bone density. Please lie still during the exam so that the pictures are clear. 

How long does the DEXA scan procedure take?

The DEXA scan exam will take about 15 minutes. 

When will I know the results?

Once the exam is completed, a computerized print-out will be analyzed by the radiologist. The radiologist will then send your doctor a written report. You should contact your physician within two days of your exam to make an appointment to go over your results and discuss your next step.

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