A bone densitometer uses small amounts of x-ray to produce images of the spine, hip, or even the whole body. The x-ray is composed of two energy levels, which are absorbed differently by the bones in the body. This explains why the technical term for the DEXA method is “dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry”. From the different absorption measurements of the two x-ray energy levels, the computer is able to determine how much bone mineral is present. The spine and hip are usually measured because they are weight bearing bones and that is where osteoporotic fractures occur most.
The bone densitometer is like a large examination table. It is padded and comfortable. Your name, age, height, weight, and ethnicity will be entered into the computer before your test. This information is used to compare your results to a normal reference group. You will be asked to lie on your back, remaining in your normal clothing in most cases.
Belt buckles, metal or thick plastic buttons, and metal jewelry will need to be removed from the region being examined. The operator will position your arms and legs for the test, which is painless and typically takes one to ten minutes. You will be asked to lie still and breathe normally.
Unprotected radiation can be harmful to growing children, pregnant women, and reproductive organs. Therefore, Advanced Radiology has strict policies to ensure your safety. We follow ALARA (as low as reasonably achieved) radiation policies when appropriate.
If you are a woman and there is a chance you could be pregnant, a pregnancy test should be done before an x-ray is taken, as it may affect a developing fetus. Each case, though, will be examined on an individual basis to ensure your safety.
Results are available within 24 – 48 hours.
Once the exam is complete, a physician will review the study and dictate a report. This report will be sent to the doctor who ordered your study. We recommend that you call and schedule a follow-up appointment with your healthcare provider to discuss the results.
Typically, the healthcare provider calls, faxes or submits an online request for the DEXA. Then we call you to confirm your appointment date and time. However, if your healthcare provider asks you to schedule your exam, simply call us. We will make sure the exam is timely and convenient and that it meets any special requirements of your insurance carrier and healthcare provider.
When you call, we will need to know which exam your healthcare provider ordered and why. We will also ask you for your insurance information. You will need to pay any co-pay or deductible at the time of the exam. We conveniently file your claim with your insurance provider.
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