DXA (DEXA) Scan

Overview

A Dual-energy X-ray Absorptiometry (DXA) Scan measures the bone mineral density (BMD) and therefore bone strength. DXA scan (sometimes referred to as DEXA Scan) results provide your care team with helpful details about your risk for osteoporosis (bone loss) and fractures (bone breaks).  Apart from a diagnostic tool, providers rely on DXA scans to monitor osteopenia and osteoporosis (a continuum of compromised bone strength which predisposes a person to an increased risk of bone fractures). The scan is the best method for monitoring changes in BMD over time.

For your convenience, we have centralized scheduling. Call 208-239-1500 to schedule.

Why 

  • Suffering associated with osteoporosis is related to the increased incidence of fractures in individuals with low bone mass, which may happen spontaneously or due to a low level of trauma (such as falling from a standing height)
  • A fragility fracture may lead to chronic pain, loss of function and loss of independence (many can no longer live independently in their own home)
  • The goal of osteoporosis screening is to identify persons at increased risk of sustaining a low-trauma fracture who would benefit from intervention to minimize that risk

Who 

  • Postmenopausal women ≥65 years old (the majority of groups in the U.S. and Canada)
  • Women <65 years old who are at increased risk for osteoporosis based on a clinical risk assessment (USPSTF)
  • All men >70 years old (NOF, ISCD, the Endocrine Society, the American College of Preventive Medicine, ACP)

 

Risk Factors for Low Bone Mineral Density

  • Advanced Age
  • Previous Fracture
  • Long-term glucocorticoid (steroid) therapy
  • Low body weight (less than 58 kg [127 lb])
  • Parental history of hip fracture
  • Cigarette smoking
  • Excess alcohol intake
  • Race/ethnicity (higher risk in White than in Black, Hispanic, or Asian Americans)

Where and How

  • The scans are performed at Idaho Medical Imaging (IMI) in Pocatello 
  • Your Primary Care Provider will discuss this recommended preventive service and order the scan for you
  • The radiology team at IMI will call you to schedule this scan
  • The patient can expect to lie on a padded table with a detector above and a radiograph tube below
  • Radiation exposure is very small and usually of a similar magnitude to daily background radiation (less than a standard x-ray)