Bone density scanning, known commonly as DEXA, is a noninvasive extremely low dose specialized x-ray examination used primarily to measure bone loss. A DEXA examination is important to diagnose osteoporosis and to determine the risk of bone fractures. It is also useful to determine the effects of treatment for bone loss.
Osteoporosis is the gradual loss of calcium in the bones, which become thinner and more prone to fracture. It is most common in women past menopause but 25% of cases are found in older men.
A DEXA bone density scan is often recommended for:
Post menopausal women not receiving estrogen supplements
A personal or maternal history of hip fractures
Users of medication known to cause bone loss such as corticosteroids (cortisone), some anti-seizure medications, barbiturates, and high-dose thyroid replacement drugs. Check with your personal physician
A Lateral Vertebra Assessment (LVA), also performed using DEXA, is an examination of the spine to screen for fractures of the vertabra. Your physician may recommend an LVA if you:
Have unexplained back pain
Have lost more than an inch of height
Or if your DEXA readings are borderline.
A complimentary CD of your DEXA bone density study is available to you after completion of your examination. It is wise to keep this CD as part of your personal medical history file.
Detailed DEXA and LVA information is available to you. Northeast Radiology is a member of both the American College of Radiology (ACR®) and the Radiology Society of North America (RSNA®). These two premier organizations have jointly developed Radiologyinfo.org as the radiology information resource for patients.
For a more detailed description of a DEXA bone density examination and Osteoporosis please click on the links below:
All the material on the RadiologyInfo.org website is approved by experts in the field of radiology from ACR® and RSNA®, as well as other professional radiology organizations. This website is updated frequently with new information.
FRAX® is the World Health Organizations fracture risk assessment tool. Northeast Radiology can provide you with your FRAX® score. The FRAX® tool uses information about your bone density and other risk factors to estimate your 10-year fracture risk.
For more information about osteoporosis and FRAX® please click below:
DEXA can also be utilized for body composition analysis in the fields of nutrition, metabolism, and exercise physiology. It can be used to better understand and evaluate weight loss as well as the evaluation of high performance athletes. Northeast Radiology has DEXA scanners that have the capability of measuring regional mass to fat ratios required for these applications. Patients who may have these applications should discuss with their healthcare advisors. All DEXA testing requires a medical prescription from a referring physician.