Imaging that creates an actual picture of what’s going on inside your body is one of your doctor’s very best diagnostic tools. Medical imaging is used to identify everything from broken bones and cancer to brain function and fetal development. And if you’re at risk for osteoporosis, we use a bone density scan (DXA) to measure bone loss. Your bones do much more than support your body — they support your whole health. Caring for them now will help ensure many years of strength and activity to come!
As an enhanced form of X-ray, a DXA can determine your risk of developing fractures before any injury actually occurs. That means you’re able to stay well by knowing what lifestyle adjustments you may need to make to prevent future issues.
When Do I Need a DXA Scan?
The National Osteoporosis Foundation recommends this type of imaging if:
- You are a woman age 65 or older
- You are a man age 70 or older
- You break a bone after age 50
- You are a woman of menopausal age with risk factors
- You are a postmenopausal woman under age 65 with risk factors
- You are a man age 50–69 with risk factors
- You experience height loss of ½ inch or more within one year
- You experience total height loss of 1½ inches from your original height
Patients of any age with spine injuries may end up needing a DXA scan as well.
What Happens During a Scan?
A DXA is a painless, non-invasive scan. Depending on the part of the body being imaged, the procedure usually takes between 10 to 20 minutes. You don’t need to worry about following a special diet or fasting beforehand. During your appointment, you’ll be positioned on a padded table as a detector slowly passes over the area, generating images on a separate screen. You’ll keep still and may be asked to hold your breath for a few seconds during the scan to reduce the possibility of a blurred image.
What Happens After?
Results from the scan will be delivered to your physician as soon as possible, and he or she will help you interpret them and determine the next steps of treatment. Whatever stage of the journey your DXA scan determines you’re at, rest assured we’ll be able to create a care plan and support team for your specific needs.
If imaging shows that you have low bone density (osteopenia) or osteoporosis, you may need to get re-scanned periodically. Treatment could involve medication, exercise and/or dietary changes depending on your circumstances and diagnosis.
Where Do I Need to Go?
In an effort to make imaging as convenient as possible, we have a number of imaging services throughout the state, including both in-hospital and freestanding facilities. Our team of technicians and radiologists is ready to guide you through the screening process so you can feel physically, emotionally and spiritually strong regardless of your bone density diagnosis.
If you have any questions about DXA scans or want to learn more, please call (855) 303-DOCS or click here.