Bone Density Scan (DEXA)

Osteoporosis Screening & Fat Scanner


DEXA Scan available at the Rowe Creavin Medical Practice.
We are an approved health insurance DEXA scan Centre provided by Referral only.

What is a bone density scan?

A bone density scan measures the amount of bone mineral content in certain areas of the body. DEXA stands for ‘dual energy x-ray absorptiometry’. It is a test that measures the density of bones. In general, the more dense the bone, the stronger it is, and the less likely it is to break. Your bone mineral density (BMD) is then compared with reference standards to determine if you are at risk for fractures. Low bone density is usually caused by osteoporosis resulting in reduced bone strength or “brittle bones.”

dexa-faq-GeimageBone density scanning works by measuring the amount of x-rays that are absorbed by the bones in your body. The two x-ray energies allow the machine to differentiate between bone and soft tissue density, giving a very accurate estimation of bone density.  Bone density scanning has proven to be one of the most accurate methods of measuring bone density. It also uses the least amount of radiation.
Why is a bone density scan performed?


Osteoporosis is a silent, progressive disease that can have crippling effects on both women and men.  Reduced bone strength can lead to fractures resulting in the loss of mobility and independence.  The DEXA scan will provide valuable information on your bone mineral density and will even predict future fracture risk. Your doctor will use the bone density scan information to decide if treatment for low bone mineral content or osteoporosis is necessary.

Who Should have a DEXA Scan?

A DEXA scan may be advised if you are at increased risk of osteoporosis. Osteoporosis usually causes no symptoms at first. However, if you have osteoporosis, you have an increased risk of breaking a bone. If a DEXA scan shows that you have osteoporosis, then you may be given advice and treatment to help strengthen your bones. Therefore, a DEXA scan may be advised if you have:

A fracture following a minor fall or injury.
Loss of height due to fracture of a vertebra (back bone).
Taken steroid tablets for three months or more.
An early menopause (aged less than 45).
A history of periods stopping (amenorrhoea) for more than one year before the menopause.
Other disorders associated with osteoporosis such as rheumatoid arthritis or coeliac disease.
A family history of hip fracture on your mothers side.
A body mass index of less than 19. (That is, if you are very underweight.)
What can I expect during a bone density scan?

Your exam may be the easiest medical test you will experience.  You will be positioned on the exam table (fully clothed) on your back while a scanner passes over your body. You will not feel anything during the exam. Lie still. Breathe normally. Rest comfortably.

Can the DEXA scan also tell me my Body Fat Measurement ?

dexa fat scan

Yes. There are several methodologies for measuring percent whole body fat and the consensus is that DEXA is the gold standard. DEXA uses two different low energy x-rays with whole body scanner to determine simultaneously, global and local fat content, bone mineral content (and therefore bone density), and muscle mass with excellent precision. Scanning times are 5-7 minutes and radiation doses are low. The desirable body fat for fit males should be 14 to 17 percent of total weight. Fit male athletes will have about 4-6 percent less  body fat (as a percent of total body weight). Fit females should have a body fat value of 21-24 percent (of total body weight). Males with values in excess of 26 percent and females in excess of 32 percent fat are generally considered overweight or obese.

How long will my bone density scan take?

The actual scan lasts less than 10 minutes.

Is bone density scanning safe?

The amount of radiation for a bone density scan is only a fraction of that received from a standard chest x-ray.  Although DEXA emits a very low amount of radiation, always inform the nurse or doctor if there is a chance of pregnancy.

What should I do to prepare for a bone density (DEXA) scan exam?

Do not take calcium supplements the day of the exam. Wear any kind of clothing you like, but please avoid metal buttons or buckles.

If you would like to have a DEXA scan please call reception on 051 370057 and make an appointment.