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Bone Densitometry (DEXA, DXA)

Bone densitometry, also called DEXA or DXA, uses a very small dose of ionizing radiation to produce pictures of the inside of the body. The bones most commonly tested are in the lumbar spine, hip and/or the forearm. This test is commonly used to diagnose osteoporosis (bones that are more fragile and at risk for developing fractures).

What to Bring

  • Your medical provider order (if you were given an order from your medical provider)
  • Personal ID
  • Insurance card(s)
  • Medication list and dosages

How to Prepare

  • Wear comfortable clothing, and avoid clothing with zippers, buttons, belts and underwire bras. Objects, such as keys, wallets and coins that would be in the area being scanned, should be removed.
  • Please leave valuable jewelry at home.
  • If you are pregnant or think you might be, please inform the imaging technologist.
  • If you wear an on-body device (such as an insulin pump, insulin regulators, Neulasta®, other chemo/insulin devices, etc.), you must inform your X-ray technologist. These devices cannot be present in the X-ray room during the exam.
  • Please inform the technologist if you recently had a barium exam or received an injection of contrast material for a CT scan or nuclear medicine test. If you did, it will interfere with your bone density test. You should wait at least 10 days before undergoing a DEXA test.

What to Expect

  • The imaging technologist will bring you to the exam room and ask a few questions that will help the medical provider determine if you have a medical condition(s) or take certain medications that either increase or decrease your risk of a fracture.
  • Bone density tests are easy, fast and painless.
  • Depending on the areas of your body that will be scanned, you will be asked to lie on the exam table or sit in a chair next to a table.
  • From the time you check in, you will need to allow 30 minutes for the test to be completed.
  • Results are usually available to your referring provider within 24 hours.

Schedule an Appointment

Call North Oaks Patient Scheduling between 7 am and 5:30 pm at (985) 230-7777.

If you are a medical provider and need to send an order, please fax it to (985) 230-6781.