DEXA Scan: Test of Bone Density in Gurgaon
A DEXA scan is a type of imaging test that measures how dense the bones are (strength). The results of a DEXA scan can help you figure out how likely you are to get osteoporosis (bone loss) or break a bone (bone breaks). This test can also tell you how much body fat and muscle mass you have.
What is a bone density test?
The DEXA test measures the number of minerals in the bones in certain parts of the body. It is a way to track bone loss as you get older. Doctors sometimes call these tests DXA, which stands for "bone densitometry tests."
How does a DEXA scan work?
A DEXA scan is a type of imaging test used in medicine. It measures how dense your bones are by using very low levels of x-rays. "Dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry" (DEXA) is the name for this test.
Medical experts say that DEXA scans are the best, easiest, and least expensive way to help find out if someone has osteoporosis. The test is short and doesn't hurt.
What happens during a DEXA scan?
DEXA scans measure the number of minerals in the hip, spine, and/or wrist bones. This is how it works:
- You will be asked to lie down on a special table for DEXA x-rays. The technologist will help you get in the right position and use positioning tools like foam blocks to help you stay there.
- The DEXA machine uses two different x-ray beams as its arm moves over the body. The beams only use a small amount of radiation, which makes the test safer and helps tell bone from other tissues.
- The scanner turns the measurements of bone density into pictures and charts. On the technologist's computer screen, bone is easiest to see because it is white. Fat and muscle tissue, on the other hand, look like shadows in the background.
- The results are then looked at by a radiologist or another doctor trained in DEXA interpretation and interpreted.
- Your doctor gets a copy of the written report so he or she can talk with you about it and decide what treatment is best.
What should you do before a DEXA scan?
Most DEXA scans can be done outside of a hospital. There are no special things you need to do to get ready for the test, but you should stop taking any calcium supplements 24 hours before the test.
Wear clothes that are comfortable. Depending on what part of your body is being scanned, you may have to take off any clothes with metal buttons, zippers, or hooks. The technician may ask you to take off any metal-containing jewelry or other items, like keys. During the test, you might be given a hospital gown to wear.
Tell your doctor ahead of time if you've had a barium exam or a CT scan that needed a contrast material. They may ask you to wait a few days before scheduling a DEXA scan.
If you are pregnant or think you might be pregnant, you should tell your doctor. They may want to defer the DEXA scan until after you have the baby or take special precautions.
How are DEXA scans used in other parts of health care?
A DEXA scan may also be ordered by a doctor to:
- Keep track of changes in bone health over time.
- Watch how you respond to treatment, like a drug for osteoporosis.
- Check your body's make-up, like how much fat and muscle mass it has (and where).
How often should someone get a DEXA scan?
Medicare lets you get a DEXA scan every two years, which is also the current recommendation. If you have certain diseases, you might not have to follow this rule.
Your doctor will look at a number of things, such as your age, level of fracture risk, previous DEXA scan, and medications you are currently taking. Then, your doctor will make a personalized plan for how to check your bone health and protect it.
What do the Dexa Scan results mean?
In a few days, a radiologist will read your DEXA results and give them to you and your doctor.
The scan's scoring system compares your bone loss to that of a young adult in good health, based on standards set by the WHO. This number is known as your T score. It is the difference between your bone loss and the average bone loss.
A normal score is anything above -1.
If your score is between -1.1 and -2.4, you have osteopenia and are more likely to break a bone.
If your score is -2.5 or less, you have osteoporosis and are at a high risk of breaking a bone.
You may also get a Z score, which shows how much bone loss you have compared to people your age.
The T score tells you how likely you are to break a bone, but it doesn't tell you for sure.
Your doctor will talk to you about how the tests went. They'll talk with you about whether you need treatment and what kinds of treatments are available. The doctor might want to do another DEXA scan in two years to see if anything has changed.
Is a DEXA scan painful?
In no way. As the X-ray beams go through your body, you won't feel a thing.
Depending on how you're lying on the table, you might feel a little bit awkward. But you will only have to stay there for a few minutes.
How well do DEXA scans work?
The accuracy and precision of DEXA scans are very high. Medical experts agree that DEXA scans are a good way to find out if someone has osteoporosis.
In contrast to x-ray machines, DEXA machines are checked every day to make sure they accurately measure bone minerals, and no two DXA machines are exactly the same. Because of this, your doctor will make sure that all of your DEXA tests are done on the same machine.