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Bone Densitometry (DXA)

Osteoporosis is a disease that is characterized by low bone mass, which leads to increased risk of fracture. It is one of the most prevalent conditions associated with aging. LHA offers a bone density test, also called DXA, to help determine if you have osteoporosis or are at risk of osteoporosis.

DXA scans use special X-rays to measure how many grams of calcium and other bone minerals are packed into a segment of bone. The higher your mineral content, the denser your bones are. And the denser your bones, the stronger they are and the less likely they are to break. This test offers very precise results and is the preferred test for diagnosing osteoporosis.

Preparation
On the day of the exam you may eat normally. You should not take calcium supplements for at least 24 hours before your exam.

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.

You may be asked to remove some or all of your clothes and to wear a gown during the exam. You may also be asked to remove jewelry, removable dental appliances, eye glasses and any metal objects or clothing that might interfere with the x-ray images.

Inform your physician if you recently had a barium examination or have been injected with a contrast material for a computed tomography (CT) scan or radioisotope scan. You may have to wait 10 to 14 days before undergoing a DXA test.

You should always inform your physician and x-ray technologist if there is any possibility that you are pregnant. Many imaging tests are not performed during pregnancy so as not to expose the fetus to radiation. If an x-ray is necessary, precautions will be taken to minimize radiation exposure to the baby.

Procedure
This test is one of the simplest procedures performed, with very little discomfort to the patient. The Procedure goes as follows:

  • The patient lies on a padded platform for a few minutes while an imager – a mechanical arm-like device – passes over the body without touching.
  • During these few minutes, bone mineral density measurements of the spine and hip joint will be taken.

You will then be asked to sit on a chair and place your forearm on the device while your wrist joint measurement is taken.