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A bone density scan, also called dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DXA or DEXA) or bone densitometry, is a specialized form of x-ray technology that is used to measure bone loss. DXA of the spine and hip is the established standard for measuring bone mineral density (BMD).
A DXA scan uses an extremely low dose of radiation (one-quarter to one-tenth that of a regular chest x-ray). Densitometry is commonly used as a preventive measure for osteoporosis (poor bone strength).
During the exam, the patient lies flat on the cushioned table, while the scanner passes over the targeted area. At one point during the exam the patient’s legs will be elevated with a cushioned support. An exam typically lasts 15 minutes.
Natural or surgical menopause
Prolonged Hormone Replacement Therapy
Medication use including steroids and hormones
Caucasian or Asian descent
Thin or small build
Family history of osteoporosis
Excessive alcohol use
Inadequate calcium intake