Bone density scanning (DXA)
DXA is an abbreviation for "Dual-energy X-Ray Absorptiometry".
What is a DXA scan?
It is a special X-Ray procedure that measures the density of your bones.
Why should I have a DXA scan?
A DXA scan can help you find out if you have osteoporosis or are at risk of developing it. In general, if the density is low, then there is a greater chance of fracture. It can also be used to detect other bone disorders and conditions, such as osteopenia, brittle bone disease and osteomalacia.
What happens during a DXA scan?
A DXA scan is fast, simple and completely painless. You will lie flat on your back on a padded table while a machine takes images of the spine, forearm or hip. The whole procedure should take about 20 minutes. You should wear loose, comfortable clothing without metal buttons, snaps or zips around the waist or hip area.
What happens after the scan?
The results will be verified by a Radiologist and sent to you within a week. A copy of your results will also be sent to your GP and you may be advised to visit your GP for further management if necessary.
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Osteoporosis is often called the 'silent disease' and usually has no symptoms - that is, until you break or fracture a bone. Bone density scanning can calculate your risk in minutes. Here, we follow patient Sally Wood as she takes the test.