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 bone density scan?
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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?
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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
What to expect
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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.

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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?
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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

Contact Us

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