What is a Bone Density study, or DEXA?

Dual Energy X-ray Absorptiometry (DEXA) scan, also known as a bone density test, is painless and simple to conduct and usually takes less than 10 minutes.  The radiation exposure is minimal and the test is very precise.

During a DEXA scan, a scanner will pass over one area of your skeleton. A dual energy beam of very low dose x-rays passes through that area of your body and is measured by a detector. You will not feel anything during the exam.

A certified radiology technologist at DIS will conduct the exam. You will be asked to lie still on the scan table but you will be able to breathe normally throughout the procedure.

A scanner (using a dual energy beam of very low dose x-rays) will pass over the lower spine/hip area. You will not feel anything during the exam. DEXA technology works by measuring the amount of x-rays that are absorbed by the bones in your body. The two x-ray energies allow the machine to differentiate between bone and soft tissue, giving a very accurate estimation of bone density. The radiologist will produce a report for your physician based on the bone density measurements and your medical history.

Despite advances in diagnostic techniques and therapies, many people at high risk of osteoporotic fractures are currently untreated. One of the most recent advanced in DEXA technology is the incorporation of a new tool developed by the World Health Organization called FRAX to help address this issue.

FRAX allows the incorporation of a patient’s clinical risk factors to more easily identify those at greatest risk of fracture and in need of treatment. All DEXA exams completed by DIS automatically apply the FRAX tool.

DIS is the first provider in the New Orleans area to offer single energy (SE) femur exams on a DEXA bone density study platform for the assessment of features associated with atypical femur fractures (AFF).

This first-of-its-kind capability assists doctors and health care providers in their assessment of potential AFF in people who have been on anti-resorptive treatments such as bisphosphonates.

This quick 15-second SE femur exam is designed to produce a high resolution image of the entire femur with a very low effective radiation dose. An AFF assessment can be conveniently performed at the time of a hip bone density scan with little or no body repositioning and a minimal increase in exam time.

DIS offers SE femur exams at our west bank center in Marrero.

Click here for a four minute overview of DEXA bone densitometry.