DEXA, which stands for Dual Energy X-Ray Absorptiometry, is a bone density test that uses a very weak form of x-ray to scan your bones and measure BMD (Bone Mineral Density). Your BMD indicates your bone strength and ability to bear weight. This can be used to diagnose osteoporosis and bone loss. It can also predict your chances of a bone fracture in the future so that you can take steps to increase your bone structure and prevent fractures from happening.
Franklin Memorial Hospital uses the Prodigy Bone Densitometer for DEXA tests. Unlike some systems that test only the heel or wrist, the Prodigy takes bone density measurements of the entire lumbar spine and hip. This gives the most complete picture of your bone health.
DEXA Hours of Operation at Franklin Memorial Hospital
Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday: 7:30 a.m. - 3 p.m.
Friday: 9:30 a.m. - 2:30 p.m.
Frequently Asked Questions about DEXA
Q. Who should have a bone density exam?
A. You should consider having a bone density exam if:
- You are female and are aged 65 or older or are post-menopausal or have amenorrhea.
- You are male and are aged 70 or older or have low testosterone.
- You have had a fragility fracture.
- You have a disease, condition, or are on medication associated with osteoporosis (chronic steroid therapy, long-term anti-seizure medications, diabetes, thyroid disease, eating disorders).
- You have a family history of osteoporosis.
Q. Is the test painful? How long will it take?
A. The test is quick and painless. The imaging can take as little as 30 seconds.
Q. What can I do to prevent osteoporosis?
A. There are several general rules for preventing osteoporosis:
- Make sure that you are taking enough calcium and vitamin D (which helps to absorb calcium). Ask your health care provider how much you should get each day.
- Your diet should contain a variety of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients.
- Exercise frequently. Exercising makes bones stronger, and weight bearing exercises help the most. Ask your health care provider what exercises would be best for you.
- Stop smoking. Studies have shown that smoking may lead to earlier and increased risk of osteoporosis.
Prep Instructions for DEXA Bone Density Exams
Vitamins and other pills – Please do not take any calcium pills (including TUMS) or multivitamins for 24 hours leading up to the time of the exam. We will not be able to do your exam if you have taken these pills. You may continue these after your exam is completed.
Eating and drinking – You can eat normally before the exam – it will not interfere with the results.
Clothing – Do not wear any metal on your clothing (zippers, snaps, safety pins). If there is any metal in your clothing, you will have to change into a gown for the exam.
Pregnancy – Please inform your health care provider if there is a chance that you are pregnant.