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Dexa Scan / BMD Test / Bone Mineral Density Test / Bone Densitometry

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Dexa Scan / BMD Test / Bone Mineral Density Test / Bone Densitometry

Technology of Dexa Scan / BMD Test

Dexa Scan stands for Dual Energy X-Ray Absorptiometry. It us also called DXA scan sometimes. Dexa Scan is a special type of X-ray that measures bone mineral density (BMD) which roughly means how strong are your bones. It us also referred to as BMD test or Bone Densitometry.

It provides information about bone strength or fragility and the risk of fractures or broken bones. The higher the density, generally, the lower the risk of fracture. The spine and one or both hips are routinely scanned.

How is Dexa Scan or BMD Test Performed

Dexa Scan involves lying on a table for a few minutes while a small x-ray detector scans your spine, one hip, or both. You may be asked to lift your legs onto a support to straighten your back for the test. The test is safe and painless and does not require any injections or any other discomfort. You receive a very small amount of radiation from a Dexa scan.

You will be asked to take off metal items on your body. The test does not require any special preparation and you are free to go home after the test.

Dexa Scan / BMD Test in progress by LabsAdvisor

Options for Dexa Scan

Dexa Scan or BMD Test can be done for the whole body, spine or any part. Sometimes doctors ask for up to three body sites to be tested. Many times Dexa Scan is done on forearm or knee (fumur).

Why is Dexa Scan or BMD Test referred

Dexa Scan is usually done to check the strength of ones bones. It is referred in cases where a doctor suspects that the bones are getting weaker. It may be conducted to assess onset of osteopenia or osteoporosis.

Specifically, the test is recommended in the following cases:

  • All women and men 65 years or older
  • Postmenopausal women and men 50 - 64 with risk factors for fracture including:
    • Fragility fracture after age 40
    • Vertebral fracture or low bone mass identified on x-ray
    • Parental hip fracture
    • High risk medication use: prolonged glucocorticoid use
    • Rheumatoid arthritis
    • Other disorders that may contribute to bone loss
  • Younger men or women (under 50) with a disease or condition associated with low bone mass or bone loss:
    • Fragility fractures
    • High-risk medication use steroid use
    • Rheumatoid arthritis
    • Other chronic inflammatory conditions
    • Cushing's disease
    • Uncontrolled hyperthyroidism
    • Primary hyperparathyroidism

Results of Dexa Scan / BMD Test

The results of dexa scan compare the bone density of the tested part with the expected density of the average person with same gender, age and ethnicity. This will help your doctor assess the strength of your bones.

Tests done with Dexa Scan / BMD Test

For younger adults who have body aches, doctors may ask them to get tested for Vitamin D deficiency or Calcium Total before asking for Dexa Scan to be done.

Risks associated with Dexa Scan / BMD Test

There are minimal risks associated with Dexa Scan as the radiation level is quite low.

For more information on Dexa Scan / BMD Test, you may refer to the following sites

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