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Do You Need a DXA/DEXA Scan?

Published on August 31, 2016

The DXA, or the dual x-ray absorptiometry, scan is also known as the bone densitometry scan. It is used to measure the bone mineral density of the various areas of the human skeletal framework. Another name for the DXA is the dual energy x-ray absorptiometry scan, or simply the DEXA scan.

The scan employs small doses of ionizing radiation, which helps in creating visual images of the various regions inside the body in order to measure the level of bone loss.

A DEXA scanner is an instrument that releases two beams of x-ray, both of which have a different level of energy. The x-ray beams are focused onto the test area for their absorption within the bones.

The beams penetrate the skin and underlying tissues to reach the skeletal framework. The x-ray beams then pass through the bones, and their amount and energy obtained on the other side is recorded. The amount of x-ray that successfully passes through the bone depends upon the thickness of the bone and can be recorded as a measure of the bone’s density.

A DEXA scan involves densitometry of mainly the lower spine and the hip region. If the scan cannot be performed on these two areas, the DEXA will be used to obtain the measurements of the forearm.

Although typically the bone disorder called osteoporosis is known to affect the whole body, an evaluation of the bone mineral density of a specific area in the body can also provide useful information regarding an imminent risk of fractures.

Advantages of DEXA over Traditional Bone-Density Scanning

•The DEXA scan is a non-invasive and pain-free procedure that does not require you to take any injections beforehand or afterwards.
•The DEXA scan usually takes somewhere between 10 and 20 minutes to accomplish and is one of the fastest radiology technologies available in the market.
•The DEXA scan does not require any prior preparation by the patient. In some cases, you might be asked to wear a gown, but you may be able to take the test in your own clothes as well.
•The DEXA scan involves usage of the x-rays, which have been prevalent in medical practices for decades now. The x-ray is a simple and proven technique that has been used for detecting cracks or fractures in human bones for a long time.
•The DEXA scan makes use of extremely low doses of x-ray beams, which renders it one of the safest and most responsive technologies of radiology.
•The DEXA scan does not involve the usage of any kind of anesthesia.

Do I Need a DEXA Scan?

A person’s bone mineral density should be kept in check, especially if they fall in one of several at-risk categories of bone loss:
•A post-menopausal woman who does not take oral estrogen
•A personal or family history of hip fracture or osteoporosis
•Usage of medications that may be associated with bone-density loss
•Hyperthyroidism or hyperparathyroidism

The DEXA scan is one of the safest and most accurate techniques for the evaluation of bone mineral density. It is incredibly useful in treatment of orthopedic patients.

Schedule an Appointment

If you’re interested in a DXA/DEXA scan, contact the office of board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Lu-Jean Feng and arrange an appointment to find out more.

Patient Testimonials

  • “I believe she is the best in the country at what she does. Instantly I noticed my neck and shoulder pain was gone and I could breathe much better” – Crystal Hefner
  • "When it comes to explant surgery I think Dr. Feng is the best doctor in the world. She’s done more studies, she’s testified in trials, the whole spectrum of anything to do with explant surgery she’s done it.”
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