Bone Densitometry (DEXA)
A DEXA Scan is an examination that detects bone loss, typically in the spine or hip, by measuring bone mineral density with a low dose of radiation. The procedure is painless and takes 15 minutes.
DEXA is most often used to diagnose osteoporosis, a condition that often affects women after menopause but may also be found in men. Osteoporosis involves a gradual loss of bone, as well as structural changes, causing the bones to become thinner, more fragile and more likely to break. A DEXA scan also assess an individual's risk for developing fractures.
Bone density testing is strongly recommended if you:
- are a post-menopausal woman and not taking estrogen.
- have a personal or maternal history of hip fracture or smoking.
- are a post-menopausal woman who is tall (over 5 feet 7 inches) or thin (less than 125 pounds).
- are a man with clinical conditions associated with bone loss, such as rheumatoid arthritis, chronic kidney or liver disease.
- use medications that are known to cause bone loss, including corticosteroids such as Prednisone, various anti-seizure medications such as Dilantin and certain barbiturates, or high-dose thyroid replacement drugs.
- have type 1 (formerly called juvenile or insulin-dependent) diabetes, liver disease, kidney disease or a family history of osteoporosis.
- have high bone turnover, which shows up in the form of excessive collagen in urine samples.
- have a thyroid condition, such as hyperthyroidism.
- have a parathyroid condition, such as hyperparathyroidism.
- have experienced a fracture after only mild trauma.
- have had x-ray evidence of vertebral fracture or other signs of osteoporosis.