DXA (Dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry)

It is used to assess mineral bone density. It is used to diagnose osteoporosis and to assess the risk of osteogenesis imperfecta (‘brittle bones’).

DXA is used to diagnose osteoporosis.

If you’ve never had a DXA scan you might not know what to expect and this brief guide is designed to answer the questions that might be in your mind.

Having a DXA scan

Having a DXA scan
  • Unless we let you know otherwise, you don’t need to make any special preparations before the scan. You can eat and drink as normal and take any prescribed medicine.
  • Please wear clothing without zips or metal buttons; if you wear a bra, we’ll ask you to take it off.
  • Once you’ve checked in at reception (don’t forget to bring your appointment letter), a member of the radiography team will meet you, explain the procedure, go through your safety questionnaire with you and ask you to sign a consent form.
  • We might ask you to change into a hospital gown. We’ll give you a container to keep your clothes and personal belongings safe.
  • You’ll be looked after by the radiography team throughout the procedure – they will explain what’s happening and will be there if you experience any discomfort.
  • You’ll have the opportunity to ask any questions.
  • You will not need an injection
  • Tell us about anything that might cause you difficulties – for example, if you’re a wheelchair user, you’re hard of hearing or have poor eyesight.
  • Spine or hip measurements take around five minutes.
  • You’re welcome to bring a friend or a relative with you, but for safety reasons we won’t normally allow them into the examination room.
  • There are no restrictions on normal activity – you can eat and drink normally, drive and return to work immediately after the scan.
  • A Radiologist will examine the images shortly after your visit and send a report to your Doctor or consultant, normally within a few days.
  • For ethical and professional reasons, we cannot discuss results with you. Only your Doctor or consultant can do this.
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