DEXA Bone Density Scans
The gold standard in early detection and prevention of osteoporosis
Strong bones for life
get an accurate assessment of your bone health today
A DEXA bone density scan (dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry) is a diagnostic imaging test that uses low dose X-ray energy to detect osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is a condition in which bones become fragile and weak, increasing the risk of fractures. Women are particularly susceptible to osteoporosis, with bone density loss accelerating after menopause due to hormonal changes.
DEXA and bone mineral density
Our bone density tests are conducted by certified bone densitometry technologists and take about 15 minutes to perform. No preparation is needed. During the scan, our technologist will position you on a scanning table, and the machine will measure the bone mineral density of your hip and spine. The machine will then calculate two scores: a T-score and a Z-score.
The T-score compares your bone density to that of a healthy 30-year-old woman, while the Z-score compares your bone density to what is considered normal for a woman of the same age and body size. X-ray images of your hip and lower spine (in most cases) are also captured and sent to a board-certified radiologist for interpretation.
Vertebral fracture assessment
In some cases, the referring physician may order a DEXA study with vertebral fracture assessment (VFA). With VFA, patients diagnosed with radiographically-identified vertebral fracture have an increased risk of having another fracture within 3-5 years.
The risk of future fractures is important to address in older age groups because of the increased mortality associated with falls. Even if osteoporosis is diagnosed at a more advanced stage, the patient can still realize benefits from treatment and help avoid a future fracture.
Who should get tested and when?
The National Osteoporosis Foundation recommends that you have a bone density test if you:
- are a woman age 65+ or a man age 70+
- break a bone after age 50
- are a woman of menopausal age (average age 51) with risk factors
- are a premenopausal woman with risk factors (e.g. steroid therapy)
- are a postmenopausal woman under age 65 with risk factors
- are a man age 50-69 with risk factors
Regular screenings ensure prompt intervention
Regular screenings for osteopenia or osteoporosis are crucial as we age, given the decrease in bone production and the increased risk of bone thinning and weakness. At Alexandria Radiology, we offer DEXA scans, which can be conveniently scheduled at the same time as your annual mammogram.
These results, in combination with other factors, assist your doctor in diagnosing and assessing your fracture risk. Your doctor may recommend various interventions to enhance bone strength, including exercise, dietary adjustments, hormone therapy, or appropriate medications.
Advanced body composition
Body Mass Index (BMI) is a measure of body fat based on weight and height. Research has shown a correlation between higher BMI and an increased risk of disease such as heart disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, gallstones, breathing problems, and certain cancers.
Alexandria Radiology offers advanced body composition testing which is a more detailed and accurate evaluation of body mass as compared to commonly used body mass index calculators. With a special setting on the DEXA software, visual images are created which show the precise location and percentage of bone, lean body mass, fat mass, and visceral adipose tissue (VAT) of the patient. This color-coded system makes it easy to help accurately assess a patient’s health status and their risk for disease regardless of body type.