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We have the capability to offer in-office bone density scans for our patients and athletes. DEXA/DXA (dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry), uses a very small dose of ionizing radiation to illustrate your bone health and determine if there is any bone loss. They are simply a specialized form of standard x-rays, so the risks associated with DEXA scans are the same as getting an x-ray. DEXA scans are non-invasive, quick and very simple, requiring no major advance preparation. These are the standard scans used to measure bone density.

*It is important to alert your technician before receiving a bone density scan if:

  • There is a possibility you are pregnant
  • You recently had a barium exam
  • You recently had a contrast CT or radioisotope scan (with injection)
  • You take calcium supplements

Bone density test is quick – typically complete in 10-30 minutes, depending on the part of your body being scanned. It is also a painless procedure, much like getting a regular x-ray.

Having a bone density scan can help your therapists and doctors track any gradual bone loss concerns. They can also help assess an individual’s risk for incurring fractures, as your bone density can be affected by age, body weight, medical history, cigarette smoking, and excessive alcohol consumption. Additionally, there are certain medications known to cause bone loss, so if you take any of the following, regular bone scans are recommended:

  • Corticosteroids such as Prednisone
  • Various anti-seizure medications such as Dilantin
  • Certain barbiturates, or high-dose thyroid replacement drugs

At the completion of the bone density scan, you’ll receive a T score and a Z score.

The T score is a number that shows a comparison of your amount of bone to a healthy individual of your similar age, and gender.

Normal T score range is above -1.

-1.1 – -2. 4 is considered low

-2.5 and below is considered osteoporosis

The Z score compares your amount of bone with the averages of individuals with your same age, size and gender.

Bone density scans are often incorporated into body composition analyses for an overall picture of athletic health.

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