Learn your bone strength to help you live at your best.
A bone density scan, also known as a dual-energy X-ray absorption (DEXA) or bone densitometry test, is a type of specialty nuclear medicine that measures the strength of your bones. A bone density scan is more precise than traditional diagnostic imaging, like X-rays.
What a Bone Density Scan Is Used to Diagnose
A bone density test (DEXA scan) can help you and your care team discover if you have bone loss early, before it becomes severe.
Your DEXA scan measures the density of the bone in various parts of your body. Your bone density results will then be compared with the peak bone mass of a healthy adult of your same sex to determine how strong your bones are.
Who Should Get a DEXA Scan?
Your provider may recommend a bone density test if you have high osteoporosis risk factors like:
- Close relative (like father or grandmother) with osteoporosis or bone fractures
- Low body weight, slight build, or light complexion
- Caucasian or Asian heritage
- Early menopause (before the age of 45), naturally or surgically
- Use of medication (over a long period of time) that accelerates bone loss, such as corticosteroids or some anti-seizure medications
- Previous bone breaks that may be the result of thinning bones
- History of cigarette smoking or heavy drinking
Find Imaging Centers Near You.
The care team referring you for imaging may help you set up your appointment at a particular location. You can also choose to schedule your imaging appointment at the imaging center most convenient to you. Visit individual imaging center websites to learn which specific types of imaging are offered at or to schedule at that location.