How It Works

DEXA How It Works

A DEXA scan, or dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry, uses x ray technology to determine the distribution of lean muscle, fat, water and bone in your body. Unlike any other body composition measuring tool, DEXA results are highly accurate and highly reproducible.

It works by passing two safe and very low dose x-ray beams at differing energy levels through the tissues of the body. The amount of radiation that passes through the tissue is measured by a detector. The computer then determines how much of your tissue is muscle fat water or bone and where it’s all stored.

How a DEXA Body Composition Scan Works

The total scan takes about 7 minutes, where you’ll be lying flat on the scanning bed. The DEXA is the ‘gold standard’ body composition testing. It has the greatest precision and shorter scan times.

DEXA is more accurate and more reproducible than any other body composition measurement
DEXA is more accurate and more reproducible than any other body composition measurement

Step 1

Find a location near you

Step 2

Schedule an appointment

Step 3

Prepare! Do not take calcium supplements for at least 24 hours before the exam and avoid wearing clothes with metal zippers or hooks.

Step 4

Lay flat on the scanning bed for roughly 7 minutes

Step 5

Directly after you’re scanned, you’ll get your results and will walk through them with a professional.

Receive and understand your results on the same day of your scan. with healthcare professional.
Receive and understand your results on the same day of your scan. with healthcare professional.
What type of results should I expect?
  • Total body bone mineral density
  • Total body muscle mass
  • Total body fat mass
  • Total body bone mass
  • Total body fat percentage
  • Muscle and fat mass in the trunk
  • Muscle and fat mass in your right and left arm
  • Muscle and fat mass in your right and left leg
  • Central abdominal fat measurement

How a DEXA Bone Density Scan Works

A Bone Densitometry test is used to measure how strong your bones are. It is commonly used to identify osteoporosis, a condition that causes a decrease in the density of bones resulting in fragility, and to determine a person’s risk for developing fractures. Risk for developing fracture is determined by age, weight and family/personal history. Talk to your doctor before scheduling a bone density scan.

DEXA is today’s established standard for measuring bone mineral density (BMD) and is most often performed on the spine, hips or forearm.

Step 1

Talk to your doctor about your eligibility for Bone Density Testing

Step 2

Your doctor will recommend a nearby Dexa Scan provider that is covered by your health insurance.

Step 3

Schedule an appointment for the scan and an additional appointment with your doctor to discuss the results.

Step 4

Prepare! Do not take calcium supplements for at least 24 hours before the exam and avoid wearing clothes with metal zippers or hooks.

Step 5

Lay flat on the scanning bed for roughly 10 to 20 minutes

Step 6

Discuss your results with your health care provider.

Most Bone Densitometry will focus on your hips and spine. You'll be asked to use a foam block to capture your hip in different positions.
Most Bone Densitometry will focus on your hips and spine. You’ll be asked to use a foam block to capture your hip in different positions.
What type of results should I expect?

T score: This number shows your Bone Mineral Density compared to young adults of the same gender in peak health.

  • -1 and above: this is considered a normal score
  • between -1 and -2.5: this is classified as osteopenia (low bone mass)
  • below -2.5: this is classified as osteoporosis (extremely low bone mass)

Z score: This number shows your Bone Mineral Density compared to other people in your age group of the same size and gender. If this score is more than 2 standard deviations above or below average, it may indicate a need for further medical tests.

Peripheral DEXA scans your doctor may recommend if DXA isn’t available
  • pDXA (peripheral dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry) DEXA for the wrist or heel
  • SXA (single energy X-ray absorptiometry) Uses one X-ray wave instead of two and is usually done on the heel
  • QUS (quantitative ultrasound) uses sound waves to measure density, usually at the heel
  • pQCT (peripheral quantitative computed tomography) measures the wrist
  • RA (radiographic absorptiometry) uses an X-ray of the hand

How it
Works?

Lie down in the scanner for around 5 minutes while the scanner passes over your body taking measurements. Get results on the spot.

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DEXA Scan Featured In Logos
DEXA Scan Featured In Logos