DEXA (Bone Densitometry)
Check your risk of osteoporosis with a bone density test, also called dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DEXA) scan, at Virginia Hospital Center.
You must bring your prescription (order form) with you to the examination. Please follow these instructions carefully.
- Take no calcium supplements (prescription or over the counter) for 24 hours prior to the exam
- Do not undergo any imaging studies containing contrast dye within one week prior to the exam (CT scan, nuclear medicine, etc.)
What is Osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis is a bone disease that occurs when the body loses too much bone, makes too little bone, or both. As a result, bones become weak and may break from a fall or, in serious cases, from sneezing or minor bumps.
Osteoporosis means “porous bone.” Viewed under a microscope, healthy bone looks like a honeycomb. When osteoporosis occurs, the holes and spaces in the honeycomb are much larger than in healthy bone. Osteoporotic bones have lost density or mass and contain abnormal tissue structure. As bones become less dense, they weaken and are more likely to break.
If you’re 50 or older and have broken a bone, ask your doctor or healthcare provider about a bone density test.
Bone Mineral Density (BMD)
This is the amount of bone tissue in a segment of bone. Measuring BMD is the best way to evaluate bone strength and predict fracture risk. Results are reported as T-scores and Z-scores.