Body Composition
Dexa Scan at Apex Radiology

Need a Dexa Scan in Hudson County, NJ? 

Measures bone density (ex: Patients with osteoporosis) 

Dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DEXA) scans are a specialized imaging technique primarily used to measure bone mineral density (BMD) in the body. These scans are commonly performed to assess bone health and diagnose conditions such as osteoporosis, which is characterized by low bone density and increased risk of fractures. 

During a DEXA scan, the patient lies on a table while a low-dose X-ray beam is passed through the bones being examined, typically the spine, hips, or forearm. The amount of X-ray radiation absorbed by the bones is measured by detectors, and this information is used to calculate the bone mineral density.

DEXA scans provide several benefits: 

Accurate assessment: DEXA scans are considered the gold standard for measuring bone density. They provide highly accurate and precise 

measurements, allowing healthcare providers to detect even subtle changes in bone density over time. 

Early detection of osteoporosis: By detecting changes in bone density, DEXA scans can help identify individuals at risk of osteoporosis before fractures occur. Early diagnosis allows for timely intervention and preventive measures to reduce the risk of fractures and complications. 

Monitoring treatment: DEXA scans are used to monitor the effectiveness of treatments for osteoporosis, such as medications, lifestyle modifications, and dietary supplements. Repeat scans can track changes in bone density and assess the response to treatment. 

Non-invasive and quick: DEXA scans are non-invasive and painless, requiring minimal preparation and taking only a few minutes to complete. They involve very low levels of radiation exposure, making them safe for most patients. 

Overall, DEXA scans are a valuable tool for assessing bone health, diagnosing osteoporosis, and monitoring treatment response. They help healthcare providers make informed decisions about managing and preventing bone-related conditions, ultimately improving patient outcomes and quality of life.


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Understanding Dexa Scan: A Patient Guide

A DEXA scan, also known as Dual-Energy X-ray Absorptiometry, is a specialized imaging test that measures bone density and assesses your risk of osteoporosis and fractures. It’s a quick, non-invasive procedure that uses a very low dose of X-ray energy to produce detailed images of the bones, typically focusing on the hip and spine, which are the areas most prone to fracture.

Before Your Appointment

  • Preparation: Generally, no special preparation is needed. However, it’s important to avoid taking calcium supplements for at least 24 hours before your scan.
  • What to Wear: Wear loose, comfortable clothing, avoiding garments with metal zippers, belts, or buttons, as metal objects can interfere with the scan. You may be asked to wear a gown during the procedure.
  • Medical History: Be prepared to provide your medical history, including any previous fractures, family history of osteoporosis, medications, and any recent imaging tests involving barium or contrast dye.

During the Procedure

  • Procedure: During a DEXA scan, you will lie on a padded table. An imaging device will slowly pass over your body, focusing on specific areas like the hip or spine. You will need to stay still during the scan to ensure clear images are obtained.
  • Duration: The entire process is quick, typically taking about 10 to 20 minutes to complete.
  • Comfort: The DEXA scan is painless. The machine does not enclose your body, so claustrophobia is not an issue.

After the Procedure

  • Results: The results of your DEXA scan are reported as T-scores and Z-scores, which compare your bone density to that of a healthy young adult and to individuals of your same age, sex, and ethnicity, respectively. Your doctor will discuss these scores with you, explaining what they mean for your bone health.
  • Follow-Up: Based on your results, your doctor may recommend lifestyle changes, dietary supplements, medications, or further testing. Regular follow-up DEXA scans may also be suggested to monitor your bone density over time.

Additional Information

  • Safety: DEXA scans involve a minimal amount of radiation exposure, significantly less than a standard chest X-ray. The risk is very low compared to the benefits of detecting osteoporosis early.
  • Why It’s Done: This test is particularly important for individuals at risk of osteoporosis, including postmenopausal women, men and women over the age of 50, and those with a family history of osteoporosis, among others.

Understanding your bone health is crucial for preventing fractures and osteoporosis. If you have any concerns about the procedure or your bone health, don’t hesitate to discuss them with your healthcare provider.