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What is a bone density scan?

Jan 8, 2019, 10:56 AM

27_Dexa July 2017A bone density scan uses a specialized X-ray machine called a Dual Energy X-ray Absorptiometry – DEXA for short. The results show if a person has normal bone density, low bone density (osteopenia), or osteoporosis.

DEXA is the most common way to accurately tell if a patient has osteoporosis. Scans are available at Skagit Regional Health, see photo above.

DEXA takes two low-dose X-rays on small sections of the hip and spine, sometimes other parts of the body will be imaged, such as the forearm. The X-rays are then analyzed by computer to calculate your bone mineral density (BDM). According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, a bone density scan can help you and your health care provider:

  • Learn if you have weak bones or osteoporosis before you break a bone
  • Predict your chance of breaking a bone in the future
  • See if your bone density is improving, getting worse or staying the same
  • Find out how well an osteoporosis medicine is working
  • Let you know if you have osteoporosis after you break a bone

Speak to your health care provider on what location is best for you. Skagit Regional Health has two locations to serve you: Cascade Valley Hospital in Arlington and Skagit Regional Clinics in Mount Vernon. If you have had a bone density scan done before, it is recommended you have any follow up done at that same location for an accurate comparison.



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Last post : 06/25/2019