Bone Density Testing (DEXA)

DEXA stands for 'dual energy X-ray absorptiometry'. It is a test that measures the density of bones. Density means how much of something there is in a certain amount of space. The denser the tissue, the less X-rays pass through. Air and water are less dense than solid things such as bone. This is because the particles which make air and water are not held closely together. In general, the more dense the bone, the stronger it is, and the less likely it is to break.

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Patients must alert the technologist if they may be pregnant.

Who should have a DEXA scan?

A DEXA scan may be advised if you are at increased risk of osteoporosis. Osteoporosis usually causes no symptoms at first. However, if you have osteoporosis, you have an increased risk of breaking a bone. (See separate leaflet called Osteoporosis for more details.) If a DEXA scan shows that you have osteoporosis, then you may be given advice and treatment to help strengthen your bones. Therefore, a DEXA scan may be advised if you have: