Bone densitometry (also called dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry, DEXA or DXA) is a special X-ray exam used to measure bone mineral content and density. Higher bone mineral content and density means bones are stronger and less likely to break. DXA produces images of bones, usually in the lower spine or hips to determine bone density. This exam is typically used to diagnose osteoporosis (“thinning of the bones”) or osteopenia (reduced bone mass of less severity than osteoporosis) or to assess your risk for an osteoporotic fracture. Bone densitometry is simple, fast, and painless.
When you get your results, you may want to talk them over with your doctor. For information about your results, see Understanding Your Bone Densitometry Results.
Getting a bone densitometry exam can give you the information you need to keep your bones healthy, especially as you age. To prevent fractures, it is important to be diagnosed early. There are a number of lifestyle and dietary changes you can make to increase your bone density and medication is sometimes recommended. It is important for both men and women to be aware of their bone density, especially after age 65 for women and 70 for men, or even earlier if you have risk factors.
If you are at risk of developing osteoporosis – or if you have already been diagnosed with osteoporosis – your doctor may order a bone densitometry scan. Osteoporosis can lead to an increased risk of bone fractures, especially of the hip. Also, people with osteoporosis may be susceptible to compression fractures of the spine.
Risk factors for osteoporosis include:
If you have any of these risk factors, your doctor may recommend a bone density scan. The results help determine the severity of any disease and the progress of treatment.
To schedule a bone densitometry, please call our scheduling team at (512) 453-6100 or toll free at (800) 998-8214. A provider referral is required to make an appointment.
A radiologist, a physician specifically trained to interpret radiological examinations, will analyze the images and send a signed report to the provider who referred you to ARA. The physician will then share the results with you. Your report will also be available on the patient portal within 15 days after the exam report is finalized.
For information about your results, see Understanding Your Bone Densitometry Results.
If you are getting a bone density exam at ARA and want to...
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