Bone Dexitometry (DXA)
Dual-Energy X-ray Absorptiometry (DXA) is a tool used for measuring bone density. DXA calculates Bone Mineral Density (BMD), a measurement used to estimate bone strength and the likelihood of breakage and/or fracture.
What are some common uses of this exam?
A DXA scan aids physicians in the diagnosis and treatment of osteoporosis as well as asseses an individual’s risk for developing fractures. Emphasis is placed on the spine and hips, which are weight-bearing areas that are more susceptible to fractures.
What to expect during a bone density scan
Your exam may be the easiest medical test you will experience. Certified technologists with specialty training in bone densitometry will conduct the exam. You will be positioned on the exam table on your back while a scanner passes over one area of your skeleton, usually the lower spine and hip. You will not feel anything during the exam. Lie still, breathe normally, and rest comfortably as the scan only lasts about 15 minutes.
Is a referral required?
Yes, your doctor must provide a referral (prescription) for you to receive a bone density scan. Medicare will pay for a bone density exam every 2 years unless your physician deems it medically necessary to do more frequently; prior authorization is required. Please verify your insurance coverage prior to your bone density exam.
Preparing for the exam
Do not take calcium supplements the day of the exam. Wear any kind of clothing you like, but please avoid metal buttons or buckles. A DXA scan cannot be performed on a patient who has had oral contrast for a radiology exam in the past 2 weeks.