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What is a DEXA Scan?

Simply put, DEXA scan is short for Dual X-ray Absorptiometry scan.  It is the current industry standard for measuring bone mineral density, or BMD for short.  This is a tool that helps your doctor measure your BMD and determine if there is a need to improve your overall bone health.  If you have been seen in our bone health clinic, it is likely you have had a DEXA scan before. If not, this blog will teach you a bit about the test, and why you should be interested in knowing about your bone health.

DEXA Scan Screen

What happens during the DEXA scan?

Testing your bone density is one of the ways you could find out if you have osteoporosis or osteopenia.  The test focuses on two main areas- the hip and the spine.  During the test, you will be asked to lay still on an open x-ray table as the scanner passes over your body.  The scanner produces two beams, one low energy and one high energy beam.  The machine measures the amount of x-ray that passes through the bones, and the difference between the two beams helps determine the density of your bones.   Easy and pain free!


DEXA Hip and Spine

Why get the test?

Other than the obvious use of measuring your bone health, this tool is also useful in assessing for occult fractures in high to moderate risk individuals.  This risk can be affected by the age of the individual, body weight, and history of previous fracture.  The test can also be influenced by lifestyle factors, including sedentariness, cigarette smoking, certain medications, and excessive alcohol consumption.

In addition to using a DEXA scan for assessment purposes, the scans can also be used to monitor treatment of osteoporosis and other conditions that cause poor bone health.  At KCBJ, our Bone Health clinics aim is to help you develop healthy lifestyle changes to improve your bone density for a better quality of life.  You can read more about what to expect in this blog.


DEXA Scan in use

Riki Duncan, ATC