Bone Density Scan (DEXA)

Bone density scans, or dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DEXA), measure your bone strength. When you and your physician know the condition of your bones, you can create a care plan to protect your health and prevent fractures.

Why Do I Need a DEXA Scan?

DEXA at Spectrum Health can help you and your doctor understand:
Whether your bone mass is decreasing
How quickly your bone mass is decreasing
Whether you have a bone-loss condition, such as osteopenia or osteoporosis
Your risk for broken bones

Should I Be Screened for Bone Loss?

Your doctor may recommend this test to check your bone density if you are at high risk for osteoporosis because you:
Are a woman over 65 
Have a parent who broke a hip
Have had a broken bone
Have rheumatoid arthritis
Smoke or drink heavily
Weigh less than 127 pounds

Use our online tool to discover your risk for osteoporosis.

What to Expect

Rest assured, DEXA scans are safe, simple and noninvasive. For most tests, you’ll lie on a table while an X-ray machine passes over your body. Another X-ray machine will pass below you.

DEXA Results

Your test results will be available within 24 to 48 hours. We’ll share your results with the doctor who ordered your test. Your doctor will explain the results and help you decide next steps. 

How Often Do I Need a DEXA Scan?

If your first DEXA scan shows that you have normal or below-normal bone density, schedule a follow-up scan within:
Five years if you’re less than 65 years old
10 years if you’re over 65 years old