Bone Densitometry (DEXA Scan) in Southeastern MA
An important screening test is the bone densitometry, also referred to as a dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DEXA) scan. This test is commonly used at Southcoast Health to diagnose or gauge a patient’s risk for developing osteoporosis.
What is a Bone Densitometry?
A bone densitometry tests your bone density, an important measure to see how strong your bones are. At Southcoast Health, we use a DEXA scanner for the test, producing two X-ray beams – one high energy, and one low energy. Based on the number of X-rays that pass through the bone, the machine is then able to compute and measure your bone density.
Bone density screening tests are the only way to diagnose whether or not someone has osteoporosis, focusing on the body’s hip and spine. These large areas can give one of our doctors an idea of how likely your bones are to fracture.
A DEXA scan will determine whether you have normal bone density, low bone density, or diagnosable osteoporosis. Besides from diagnosis screening, our doctors will also use DEXA scans to determine if your osteoporosis treatment plan is working and your bone density is improving.
Who Should Undergo a Bone Densitometry?
DEXA scans are a common test for women older than 50 to undergo – due to women of older age being at a higher risk for osteoporosis. In fact, 68% of all osteoporosis diagnoses are women, and it’s estimated that millions more have low bone mass that is at risk for osteoporosis.
Your doctor may also recommend a DEXA scan if you:
- Are a menopausal or postmenopausal woman younger than 65, but with risk factors for osteoporosis
- Are a man between 50 and 69 with risk factors for osteoporosis
- Are older than 50 years old and break a bone
- Have lost a half inch or more of height in one year
- Have unexplained spine pain
- Take medication for osteoporosis
What to Expect During a DEXA Scan
A DEXA scan only takes less than a half-hour to perform, and you’ll be out of our office the same day. Unlike other tests, you do not have to lie inside a closed tunnel. Instead, you only have to lie on a table as the scanner passes over your body, much like a regular X-ray. Luckily, the exam is painless, and you can resume your normal activities right after the screening.
DEXA Scan Near You in MA & RI
Southcoast Health is proud to offer bone density tests and DEXA scans at our locations across southeastern Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Osteoporosis is treatable, and our doctors will sit down with you to explain treatment options for this condition. Contact us for more information about our radiology services and treatments today!