Bone Density Scan DEXA Or DXA

dexa bone density

With bone loss, the outer shell of a bone becomes thinner and the interior becomes more porous. The T score is a measure of relative risk, not a prediction that you’ll have a fracture. Before DEXA, the first sign of bone density loss might be when an older adult internet broke a bone. This technique was introduced for commercial use in 1987. It sends two X-ray beams at different peak energy frequencies to the target bones. Medicare allows a DEXA scan to be done once every two years, and this is the current recommended timeframe.

This test is quick and painless, and the amount of radiation you get from the X-rays is low. A radiologist will read your results and send your doctor a written report additional reading of their findings. They’ll then talk to you about any treatment or other tests you might need. Images of your bones will show up on the tech’s computer screen.

dexa bone density

The pDXA devices are smaller than the central DXA devices, weighing only about 60 pounds. They may have a portable box-like structure with a space for the foot or forearm to be placed for imaging. Other portable technologies such as specially designed ultrasound machines, are also sometimes used for screening. The results from a bone density scan are usually look at this used alongside a fracture risk assessment to assess your chances of osteoporosis and breaking a bone. A small, portable machine can measure bone density in the bones at the far ends of your skeleton, such as those in your finger, wrist or heel. The instruments used for these tests are called peripheral devices and are often used at health fairs.

Bones will show up as white, while tissue and fat will look like shadows. It’s important to let your doctor and the tech know before you have a DEXA scan if you’re pregnant, or think you might be. Although the radiation you’re exposed to during this test is low, it could still harm your baby.

This ensures that the areas of your body not being imaged receive minimal radiation exposure. A radiologist, a doctor trained to supervise and interpret radiology examinations, will analyze the images. The radiologist will send a signed report to your primary care or referring physician who will discuss the results with you. Wear loose, comfortable clothing and avoid wearing clothes with zippers, belts or buttons. Leave your jewelry at home and remove all metal objects from your pockets, such as keys, money clips or change. At some facilities, you may be asked to change into an examination gown.

Bone density tests are usually done on bones in the spine (vertebrae), hip, forearm, wrist, fingers and heel. Be sure to tell your doctor beforehand if you’ve recently had a barium exam or had contrast material injected for a CT scan or nuclear medicine test. Contrast materials might interfere with your bone density test. A bone density test determines if you have osteoporosis a disorder characterized by bones that are more fragile and more likely to break. Making a lifestyle change or starting a medication to help slow your bone loss is a good investment in your health and longevity. Studies suggest that 50 percent of women and 25 percent of men over 50 will break a bone because of osteoporosis, according to the National Osteoporosis Foundation (NOF).

Medical experts consider DEXA scans to be an accurate test for diagnosing osteoporosis. Your doctor will likely do this exam on an outpatient basis. You should wear loose, comfortable clothing, avoiding garments that have zippers, belts or buttons made of metal. Objects such as keys or wallets that would be in the area being scanned should be removed.

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