Dual-Energy X-Ray Assessment (DEXA)
See "pre-register" link for prep and consent information
Just as it is important to know your blood pressure or height, it is important to know the health of your bones.
For most women, the time to watch T-Scores is shortly after menopause when declining estrogen levels no longer protect their bone density. While not universally agreed upon, there are also other cases when a bone density test may be appropriate. Many Physicians consider older men, people who have taken medications that affect bone density for prolonged periods (such as some asthma and steroid medications), and people with a history of osteoporosis or fractures in their family as viable candidates for bone density testing.
HOW IS THE PROCEDURE PERFORMED?
For the test, a patient lies down on an examining table as a radiation detector device is slowly passed over the lumbar area, producing images projected onto a monitor. The scanner rapidly directs x-ray energy from two different sources towards the bone being examined in an alternating fashion and at a set frequency. The mineral density of the patient's bone weakens, or prolongs the transmission of these two sources of x-ray energy through a filter onto a counter in a degree related to the amount of bone mass present. The greater the bone mineral density, the greater the signal picked up by the photon counter. The use of the two different x-ray energy sources rather than more traditional radioisotope studies (such that would be used for a bone scan) greatly improves the precision and accuracy of the measurements.
Who interprets the results and how do I get them?
NWDC Diagnostic Imaging has an agreement with a group of board-certified radiologists to facilitate our procedures and interpret the results. A diagnostic report will be sent to your doctor within forty-eight (48) hours of your procedure. In the event of an abnormal test result, the radiologist will contact your doctor's office by telephone.
PREPARING FOR THE PROCEDURE
When examining the spine, the patient's legs are supported on a padded box to flatten the pelvis and lower the spine. To assess bone mineral density in the hip, the patient's foot is placed in a brace that rotates the hip inward, and the scanning procedure is repeated.