So you’ve been told by your doctor you need a DEXA bone scan. What is it? Is it uncomfortable? How should you prepare? Read on for the answers to these and more questions on DEXA bone scans.
Independent Imaging offers complete imaging services in four convenient locations in Palm Beach County, Florida, six days a week. If your physician has referred you to us for a DEXA bone scan, our friendly staff will help to answer your questions every step of the way.
What is a DEXA bone scan?
DEXA stands for Dual Energy X-ray Absorptiometry (sometimes called DXA). DEXA scans provide information about your bone density by comparing the data received from two X-rays operating at different frequencies. The amount of calcium in the bone is compared to that of an average 30-year-old (the age when human bones are strongest), and the difference in the values gives your radiologist a number called a T-score, which we use to diagnose osteoporosis or show disease progression.
Who gets a DEXA bone scan?
A DEXA bone scan is recommended for patients who are at risk for osteoporosis, a condition where bones become fragile through the loss of bone tissue. This can be caused or influenced by hormonal changes, not enough vitamin D or calcium, or other conditions. Although anyone can develop osteoporosis, it is most common in Caucasian women who are 65 or older.
What happens when I go for my scan?
DEXA bone scans do not involve an enclosed space. You lie comfortably on a table, as still as you can, as a machine takes X-ray images. Radiation levels of this test are very low, and it only takes about 10-20 minutes.
What does my score mean?
A T-score shows how strong or dense your bones are compared with a 30-year-old. A T-score of -2.5 or lower indicates osteoporosis, from -1.0 to -2.5 low bone density called osteopenia, and a score of -1.0 or above is normal.
Another score, called a Z-score, shows how your bone density compares with the average person your own age.
How do I prepare for a DEXA bone scan?
There is no special preparation needed for a DEXA bone scan. Certain tests involving radiation need to be completed more than two weeks prior to a DEXA bone scan. Let our office know of any other diagnostics in your schedule when you call.
Call Independent Imaging for an appointment