DXA (Bone Density Test)
DXA is a non-invasive examination using very low dose x-ray(s), using about
1/30 the radiation of a standard chest x-ray. This is less radiation than
an airplane trip or equivalent to two hours of direct sunshine. The examination
is used to aid in diagnosing low bone mass or osteoporosis. A computer
algorithm converts examination information to a bone density score. This
score indicates your bone density category. Ordering provider(s) use the
bone density score and category to determine your course of care.
Before your exam
- Your physician will need to provide you with an order.
- Please schedule your exam by calling 240-566-3400.
- Do not take calcium supplements 24 hours prior to your exam.
- DXA examinations are to be scheduled first, before any additional exams
requiring contrast. If you had an MRI, CT, NM, or PET examination with
contrast (e.g. barium, IV, or oral contrast), please wait 7 days to have
a DXA exam.
- Wear comfortable clothes free of metal (buttons, snaps, belts, zippers
or underwire). Sports bras are acceptable. Changing rooms are available
During your exam
- Your height and weight will be taken.
- Your technologist will review your DXA questionnaire, including your personal
- In the exam room, you will be instructed to lie on your back on an exam
table for 10 to 15 minutes.
- Your lumbar spine and both hips will be imaged. In some cases, we may image
a non-dominant forearm.
Please remain as still as possible during the procedure to achieve the
most accurate test
After the exam
Once your exam has been completed, it can take up to 48 hours before your
physician will have access to your results. Please feel free to engage
your technologist with any questions you may have.
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