What is Bone Densitometry (DEXA)

Bone Densitometry or DEXA which stands for Dual Energy Xray Absorptiometry is an x-ray exam that measures the amount of bone mineral in the hip and spine areas. On occasion, other areas may be measured due to limitations of the patient or previous surgeries on the hip and spine. This measurement aids in the diagnosis of osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is a condition where bones become weak to the point of breaking. If not prevented or left untreated, osteoporosis can progress painlessly until a bone breaks. These broken bones typically occur in the hip, spine and wrist.

A low dose of radiation is used during the x-ray to produce detailed images of the bones. Information is collected and compared to a reference group to gauge your fracture risk.  The spine and hip are most frequently measured because that is where most osteoporotic fractures occur. However, measuring other bones in the body can be just as accurate.