A DXA scanner (Dual Energy X-ray Absorptiometry) is used to measure the density of the bone. The scanner produces a small amount of radiation that passes through the body and as it does so measurements are taken for the hip and spine regions. The measurements known as ‘T’ scores are how solid the bone structure is and how much radiation passes through the bone. Generally the bone will block the radiation and the detector will send this information to the computer which will calculate the density of the bone. The more radiation received by the detector the lower the ‘T’ score indicating that the bone structure has lost some material and is more prone to fracture.
Your Doctor will refer you for a DXA scan if you meet the referral criteria where you have an increased risk of Osteoporosis. The referral criteria will include loss of height, fractures received following a minor fall, early menopause, prescribed steroids for a long period, a family history of Osteoporosis or a very low body mass index (BMI) being severely underweight.
The procedure is relatively quick and painless, there is no preparation required prior to a scan, and no need to undress. Just wear something comfortable and remove any metal parts such as belt buckles or fasteners. The radiographer will talk you through the procedure and will position you lying on a couch to obtain the scan and an arm will travel along the couch. This arm houses the detector and X-rays are sent through the body towards the detector. This information is gathered and used to calculate your bone score.
The results of your scan are sent via our secure PACS (Picture Archiving and Communication System) to a consultant to read and the consultant will provide expert opinion on your scan. This opinion, combined with treatment recommendations, will be sent to your referring GP who will discuss the findings with you. The results could include lifestyle changes to improve your body and strength, exercise and diet changes and may include medication to slow down the bone degeneration.
Please feel free to ask questions of the Radiographers when you attend for your scan appointment.