Bone density scanning, also called dual-energy X-Ray absorptiometry (DEXA) or bone densitometry, is an enhanced form of X-Ray technology that is used to measure bone loss. DEXA is today's established standard for measuring bone mineral density (BMD).

DEXA is most often performed on the lower spine and hips. It is a painless and quick procedure for measuring bone loss. DEXA is most often used to diagnose osteoporosis, a condition that often affects women after menopause but may also be found in men. Osteoporosis involves a gradual loss of calcium, as well as structural changes, causing the bones to become thinner, more fragile and more likely to break.

The DEXA test can also assess an individual's risk for developing fractures. The risk of fracture is affected by age, body weight, history of prior fracture, family history of osteoporotic fractures and life style issues such as cigarette smoking and excessive alcohol consumption. These factors are taken into consideration when deciding if a patient needs therapy.

On the day of the exam you may eat normally. You should not take calcium supplements for at least 24 hours before your exam.

Inform your physician if you recently had a barium examination or have been injected with a contrast material for a computed tomography (CT) scan or radioisotope scan; you may have to wait 10 to 14 days before undergoing a DEXA test.

Watch a video on DEXA.

Radiologic Technologists are registered with the American Registry of Radiologic Technologist (ARRT) and licensed by the Texas Department of Health (TDH). All technologists participate in continuing education annually to fulfill their licensure credentialing requirement.

Women should always inform their physician or X-Ray technologist if there is a possibility they are pregnant.

Radiation Dose: Special care is taken during X-Ray examinations to use of the lowest radiation dose possible while producing the best images for evaluation.