Bone Densitometry - University Diagnostic Medical Imaging

Bone Densitometry

Bone Densitometry, also called dual-energy X-RAY absorptiometry or DEXA, uses a very small dose of ionizing radiation (much less than the amount emitted during a chest X-RAY) to produce pictures of the inside of the body (usually the lower spine and hips) to measure bone loss.  It is commonly used to diagnose osteoporosis and to assess an individual’s risk for developing fractures.  DEXA is simple, quick and noninvasive.  It’s also the most accurate method for diagnosing osteoporosis.

During the Exam

You will be asked to lie down on a padded platform while a mechanical arm passes over your body.  The test usually takes about 10 to 30 minutes.


This exam requires little to no special preparation.  Tell us if there is a possibility you are pregnant or if you recently had a barium exam or received an injection of contrast material for a CT or MRI scan.  Leave jewelry at home and wear loose, comfortable clothing. You may be asked to wear a gown.  You should not take calcium supplements for at least 24 hours before your exam.