Bone Densitometry (DXA)

What is bone densitometry?
Bone densitometry determines your bone mineral density, or BMD, and compares your individual results with the average BMD of a young adult of your sex and race who is at their peak BMD. This information will help your doctor determine if you need to take special steps to preserve your bone health. Bone densitometry tests are simple, safe, noninvasive and painless.


What is osteoporosis?


Osteoporosis is a disease that gradually weakens bones and causes them to become brittle and prone to fractures. Normal bones are dense and strong, while the bones of those people who have osteoporosis have become thin and porous, making them more likely to break. Osteoporosis and the complications associated with it can rob you of your mobility and your independence. Early detection using bone densitometry is the best way to protect yourself from its potentially debilitating effects. It is estimated that at age 50, a woman has a nearly 40 percent chance of developing an osteoporotic fracture during her remaining lifetime. A woman’s lifetime risk of hip fracture alone is equal to the combined risk of developing breast, uterine, and ovarian cancer — and, unfortunately, many elderly people who suffer a hip fracture do not recover.



Am I at risk for osteoporosis?


Many women who are postmenopausal are at risk of osteoporosis. The presence of any one of these factors can add to your risk.

  • Caucasian or Asian ethnicity
  • Thin or small build
  • Family history of osteoporosis or osteoporotic fracture
  • Early menopause (before age 45)
  • Smoking
  • Inactive lifestyle
  • Chronic use of some medications such as steroids, excessive thyroid hormone, and certain anticonvulsants

Note: Some authorities believe that the presence of any of these factors increases your risk of osteoporosis. However, even if you have none of these factors, you may still be at risk. A bone densitometry exam can provide you and your doctor with the information you need to clearly tell for sure.

Some things you can do to help protect yourself from the dangers of osteoporosis include making sure you get enough calcium and vitamin D, exercising regularly, and avoiding accidents by living safely.


How does bone densitometry work?
Bone densitometry is conducted by passing low-dose x-rays through the bones to measure their mineral content. Baptist M&S Imaging offers Dual-Energy X-Ray Absorptiometry (DXA), which is considered the "gold standard" in bone density testing. This test will help you determine if you are prone to fractures and if you have bone loss. If you are diagnosed with osteoporosis, DXA can help you determine how aggressively you should treat the disease, and also measure your response to therapy. 


Preparing for your visit - Bone Densitometry Exam


Wear comfortable clothing without any metal; such as sweat pants.

You will lay flat on a table and be asked to remain still as the scanning equipment moves above you down the length of the table. The procedure is very simple and will take between 15 and 20 minutes.

As with other medical procedures, if there is a possibility that you are pregnant, please let us know in advance.