Imaging

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 when needed.

During your exam

  • Your height and weight will be taken.
  • Your technologist will review your DXA questionnaire, including your personal medical history.
  • 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 tests results.

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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