Diagnostic Services

DEXA Scan

DEXA Scan

DEXA imageDEXA stands for Dual Energy X-ray Absorptiometry, which is a method of using low-dose x-rays to measure the mineral content or density of the bones. It is most commonly used to diagnose osteoporosis (where the bones become weak and fragile and more likely to break).

It is also used to assess the risk of osteoporosis developing, and it is important to assess each individual patient, for contributary factors, such as dietry habits, illness, genetic predisposition and drugs.
Disorders such as such as osteopenia (very low bone mineral density) and osteomalacia (softening of the bones caused by a vitamin D deficiency) may also be diagnosed.

With short scanning times and low X-ray doses, this highly sensitive equipment can help identify risk at a much earlier stage and evaluate response to treatment

How does a DEXA scan work?

You will be required to lie down on an examining table, while the arm of the scanner passes over you. Two low-dose x-rays are used to measure the bone density – which is typically performed over the lumbar spine and both hips. The bone densitometer measures bone mineral density (BMD), comparing measurements to comparative persons of a similar age and weight, and of the same sex and ethnic background.

DEXA scores are reported as "T-scores" and "Z-scores."

  • The T-score is a comparison of a person's bone density with that of a healthy 30-year-old of the same sex.
  • The Z-score is a comparison of a person's bone density with that of an average person of the same age and sex.

These results, in conjunction with the lifestyle questionnaire completed before the scan, will assist the reporting consultant to formulate an accurate report. The images and results will be sent to your referring doctor who will discuss these with you and advise if you require any treatment.

Further information including individual preparation for various scans, length of procedures and care to be taken following each scan, is available from the imaging department.

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