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Bone Densitometry

Bone Densitometry

What is Radiography-based (X-ray) Bone Densitometry?

To detect osteoporosis accurately, doctors use an enhanced form of x-ray technology called dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DXA or DEXA). DEXA bone densitometry is today's established standard for measuring bone mineral density (BMD). DEXA is a quick, painless procedure for measuring bone loss. Measurement of the lower spine and hips are most often done. More portable devices that measure the wrist, fingers or heel are sometimes used for screening, including some that use ultrasound waves rather than x-rays.

What are some common uses of the procedure?

DEXA bone densitometry is used most often to diagnose osteoporosis, a condition that often affects women after menopause, but may also be found in men. Osteoporosis involves a gradual loss of calcium, causing the bones to become thinner, more fragile, and more likely to break. The DEXA test can also assess your risk for developing fractures. If your bone density is found to be low, you and your physician can work together on a treatment plan to help prevent fractures before they occur. DEXA is also effective in tracking the effects of treatment for osteoporosis or for other conditions that cause bone loss.

What are the benefits of a bone densitometry scan?

Bone densitometry is a non-invasive, accurate, inexpensive way of detecting osteoporosis. The procedure takes 15 - 30 minutes and does not require undressing. A bone densitometry scan:

  • Can be beneficial for any age or gender
  • Provides early detection that some other tests may miss
  • Can measure multiple sites of the body to determine the most appropriate treatments
  • Can estimate fracture risk
  • Is easily administered with a low radiation dose that is roughly equivalent to a cross-country airline flight

 

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