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What is DEXA?

A DEXA scan is a screening procedure used to evaluate bone loss, or osteoporosis, a condition that can lead to fracture. The DEXA scan exam includes x-ray images of the hip and lower spine using a very low level of radiation. A computer uses these DEXA images to determine bone density, which can be compared to the value in young adults and to adults of your same age and sex to determine whether you have osteoporosis.

Do I have to do anything special to prepare for my DEXA bone density test?

There is no formal preparation for this procedure. If your clothing has metal zippers or closures you will be asked to wear a patient gown. The DEXA test will take about 30 minutes. You will first be asked to fill out a form with questions about your risk factors for bone density loss. A camera will be moved above you and localized x-ray images will be taken of your hip and spine. The exam does involve the use of a very minimal radiation dose. There are no side effects to the DEXA bone density test. You may return to work or normal activity immediately.

How long will the DEXA scan take?

The exam takes about 30 minutes

When will I get the results of my DEXA test?

Your images will be scored and interpreted by one of our staff radiologists. Previous bone mineral density studies can be compared with your new DEXA scan and the results sent to your doctor. Our goal is to provide your physician with the report the same or next day. Your DEXA test results will be given to you.

If you would like to learn more about your specific procedure, visit radiologyinfo.org.

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