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BONE DENSITOMETRY

What is a bone density study (DEXA scan)?
A bone density study is a low dose X-ray that is used to screen for osteoporosis.

Why is a bone density exam necessary?
Bone densitometry is used most often to diagnose osteoporosis, a condition that most often affects women after menopause, but may also be found in men. Osteoporosis involves a gradual loss of calcium, causing the bones to become thinner, more fragile and more likely to fracture. The DEXA test can also assess your risk for developing fractures.

Bone density testing is strongly recommended if you:
• Are a post-menopausal woman and not taking estrogen.
• Have a personal or maternal history of hip fracture or smoking.
• Are a post-menopausal woman who is tall (over 5 feet 7 inches) or thin (less than 125 pounds).
• Are a man with clinical conditions associated with bone loss.
• Use medications that are known to cause bone loss, including corticosteroids, various anti-seizure medications and certain barbiturates, or high-dose thyroid replacement drugs.
• Have type 1 (formerly called juvenile or insulin-dependent) diabetes, liver disease, kidney disease, or a family history of osteoporosis.
• Have a thyroid condition, such as hyperthyroidism.
• Have experienced a fracture after only mild trauma.
• Have had X-ray evidence of vertebral fracture or other signs of osteoporosis.

What should I expect from my bone density exam?
You will be asked to lie still on the exam table for about five to 10 minutes while pictures are taken of your back and your hip. If you have metal in your back or hip, or if you are a kidney dialysis patient, a picture may also be taken of your forearm. There is no preparation for the bone density exam and it is completely painless. It is recommended, however, that you not take calcium tablets 24 hours prior to your exam.

Can I have a Bone Density during pregnancy?
No. Radiation can be very harmful to an unborn fetus. You should not have any type of X-ray irradiation during pregnancy. If there is any possibility that you may be pregnant, please inform your technologist.

When can I receive my results?
Your results will be faxed to your doctor’s office the same day as your exam. A radiologist is available to tailor the exam and discuss any concerns you may have. Dalton Imaging Center will also provide the films to your doctor’s office upon request. Because Dalton Imaging Center recognizes that tests and other medical procedures can be unsettling at times, we make every effort to completely answer any questions related to testing procedures.


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