DEXA (Bone Densitometry)
DEXA is most often used to diagnose osteoporosis, a condition that often affects women after menopause but may also be found in men and rarely in children. DEXA is also effective in tracking the effects of treatment for osteoporosis and other conditions that cause bone loss and can also assess your risk for developing fractures. Bone density testing is strongly recommended if you:
- are a post-menopausal woman and not taking oestrogen.
- have a personal or maternal history of hip fracture or smoking.
- are a man with clinical conditions associated with bone loss.
- use medications that are known to cause bone loss, including corticosteroids such as Prednisone, various anti-seizure medications such as Dilantin and certain barbiturates, or high-dose thyroid replacement drugs.
- have type 1 diabetes, liver disease, kidney disease or a family history of osteoporosis.
- have experienced a fracture after only mild trauma.
- have had x-ray evidence of vertebral fracture or other signs of osteoporosis.
What does the bone density scan involve?
During a bone density test, you will be asked to lie on your back on the DEXA scanner. The technician will position your body for scans on your hip (femoral neck) and lower back (lumbar region). If there are any medical reasons for which a reliable scan cannot be taken at the hip and/or lower back, then a wrist scan will be performed. It should be completed within 10-15 minutes. Your results will be read by a medical practitioner and a report sent to your doctor.
What do my bone density scan results mean?
The DEXA results you receive will be expressed as a T-score and fall into one of three classifications:
- NORMAL T-SCORE = 1 TO -1 Continue to eat a healthy diet rich in calcium and vitamin D and maintain regular exercise.
- LOW BONE DENSITY T-SCORE = -1 TO -2.5 At risk for the development of osteoporosis with a low to medium fracture risk. You should work with your doctor on strategies to minimise further reductions in bone density.
- OSTEOPOROSIS T-SCORE = -2.5 Your fracture risk is high. You should work closely with your doctor to determine which treatment options are best for you.
How do I prepare for my Bone Density scan?
To save time on the day of your appointment download, print and complete the Dexa Questionnaire and email or present to our receptionist when you arrive.
How long does it take?
Your DEXA scan will take between 10 and 15 minutes to complete.
What will it cost?
Medicare will only pay a rebate under very strict conditions. If your scan meets these conditions, we will let you know when you arrive for your appointment. Otherwise we will inform you of your out-of-pocket expenses at that time.