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Bone Density

A Better Bone Density Experience

Convenience is important so we can often accommodate same-day exams and
flexible scheduled appointments.

What is a Bone Density exam?

Bone Densitometry, also called dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry, DEXA or DXA, uses a very small dose of ionizing radiation to produce pictures of the inside of the body (usually the lumbar spine and hips) to measure bone loss. It is commonly used to diagnose osteoporosis, to assess an individual’s risk for developing osteoporotic fractures. DEXA is simple, quick and noninvasive. It’s also the most commonly used and the most standard method for diagnosing osteoporosis.

What Lifestyle Factors Contribute to Bone Loss?

  • Alcohol abuse
  • Frequent falling
  • Inadequate physical activity
  • Vitamin D insufficiency
  • Excessive thinness
  • High salt intake
  • Low calcium intake
  • Excessive vitamin A
  • Immobilization
  • Smoking (active or passive)

Bone density testing is strongly recommended if patient is:

  • a post-menopausal woman and not taking estrogen.
  • has a personal or maternal history of hip fracture or smoking.
  • a post-menopausal woman who is tall (>5’7”) or thin (< 125 lbs).
  • a man with clinical conditions associated with bone loss.
  • uses medications that are known to cause bone loss.
  • has type 1 diabetes, liver or kidney disease, or a family history of osteoporosis.
  • has high bone turnover (shows as excessive collagen in urine samples)
  • has a thyroid condition, such as hyperthyroidism.
  • has a parathyroid condition, such as hyperparathyroidism.
  • has experienced a fracture after only mild trauma.
  • has had x-ray evidence of vertebral fracture or other signs of osteoporosis.

Certain medical conditions and medications can also contribute to bone loss. Talk to your healthcare provider to assess whether any condition you have or treatments may be affecting your bone health. If so, your provider can write an order and you can schedule your exam at one of our convenient outpatient centers.

What you should know

Answers to some frequently asked questions.

You might have a whole-body scan or of a scan of:

  • your hip and spine, also known as Central Bone Density, which requires lying on a table.
  • your finger, hand, forearm or foot, also known as Peripheral Bone Density, which uses a small device

Neither procedure hurts. These scans only take a few minutes.

A specialist will review the DEXA images with you and forward their findings to your physician. Your doctor will then share and interpret these results with you.

Your examination will yield two distinct scores:

T score: This metric compares your bone density to that of a young adult of your gender at their peak bone mass. A score above -1 is deemed normal. A score ranging from -1 to -2.5 indicates osteopenia (diminished bone density). A score less than -2.5 signifies osteoporosis. This score assists in predicting your fracture risk.

Z score: This value contrasts your bone density with individuals of your age, gender, and stature. An exceptionally high or low Z score might suggest the requirement for additional medical evaluations.

At Ft. Jesse Imaging & Gale Keeran Center for Women, we understand that the cost of an imaging exam can be a concern. Our rates for both insured and uninsured patients are substantially lower than the same exam performed at a hospital. We believe that price transparency is important so you can be prepared for your financial obligations, if any. To learn more about what your exam may cost, please click here.

If you are over the age of 50 with a family history of osteoporosis or symptoms such as unusual fractures, you should consult with a physician to determine if you need a DEXA scan.

The radiologist will review the DEXA images and provide a diagnostic report that will be sent directly to your provider. The report is typically available to your provider within 24 hours. Many providers plan scheduled time to discuss results with their patients so you could check with their office to see when they will be available to review the information with you.

To request a copy of your report, please click here

Prep for your exam

If you have an appointment scheduled, please click here to pre-register, complete forms and review exam preparation instructions. If you have any questions about your visit, please contact the imaging center at 309.454.5552.