DEXA stands for dual energy x-ray absorption. A DEXA scan is used to measure bone density by directing low-energy X-rays through the bone to measure its mineral density. Mineral density is an accurate predictor of bone strength. As compared with earlier methods, a DEXA scan offers a more precise, comfortable and safe examination. This painless exam precisely reports small changes in the body. It also is much more sensitive in measuring subtle changes in bones' response to drug therapy. Additionally, DEXA scans are less expensive and take less time to perform. A total body scan takes only four minutes to complete.

  • Please arrive at least 20 minutes before your appointment and bring your referral. If you need to reschedule or cancel, call 24 hours in advance.
  • Let us know what medications you take, including non-prescription medicines and supplements. You may take Fosamax and multivitamins before your exam.
  • Tell us if you are or may be pregnant or if you are breastfeeding.
  • Do not take any calcium supplements for 24 hours before your exam.
  • If you have had an X-ray that used any contrast material (dye) or a nuclear medicine study, schedule your DEXA exam at least one week after those tests.`

Upon arrival

  • A technologist will take you to the exam room, ask you some medical questions, and explain what you can expect during your test.
  • You will need to remove any metal or plastic from the part of your body being examined and change into a gown.

During your DEXA exam

  • Depending on whether your hip, spine, or wrist is being scanned, you will either lie on a table or sit in a chair. You may lie with your legs straight or with your lower legs resting on a platform to elevate them slightly.
  • The scan will take about 30 minutes.

After your DEXA scan

  • You can leave immediately after your DEXA scan.
  • The radiologist will review your scans and send the results to your physician.