Primarily known as dual energy X-ray. It is an enhanced form of X-ray technology that is required to measure up the bone loss that might have occurred. It is mostly performed on the lower spine and hips. Remember-The risk of fracture is affected by age, body weight and if there is any history of prior fracture.

 In short, there are two types of DEXA equipment. It has a central device and one with the peripheral device. DEXA are central devices. It is used to measure bone density in the hip and spine. Central device has a large, flat table and allows for “arm” suspension. Peripheral devices measure bone density in the areas like wrist, heel, finger. The peripheral DEXA scans are smaller compared to central DEXA scans.

If you are wondering how this process works- It sends out a thin, invisible beam of low-dose x-rays through the bones that need to be examined for the treatment. It has two distinct energy peaks, one is absorbed mainly by soft tissue and the other by the bone. They have a special feature that can easily compute and effectively display the bone density.

How is the DEXA scan performed ?

Central  DEXA is used to measure the bone density of the hip and spine. The patient is requested to lie down on the padded table. An imaging detector or device is positioned above and, whereas an x-ray detector is located below the patient.

During the process, the patient’s foot is placed in a brace that rotates the hip forward. It is advised that the patient needs to be very still and may need to hold on to their breath for a few seconds. This will reduce any blur images that may be produced. Meanwhile, Peripheral DEXA scans are simple. The finger, arm, hand and forearm can be placed in a small device to rule out the bone density reading. The whole process of this type of scan can take anywhere between 10-30 minutes. It greatly depends on the kind of equipment being used. Do remember to tell your doctor about any medical conditions or certain medications you are taking. I

DEXA scans are interpreted by physicians such as rheumatologists and endocrinologists. A clinician should review the DEXA scan and let you know about the possible risk factors such as – Respiratory disease, IBD, chronic renal and liver disease, rheumatoid arthritis.

A DEXA Scan cannot predict who will experience a fracture, and it is primarily necessary to determine if the treatment is required. Central DEXA Scans are considered more effective and  better standardized to the peripheral Scans. DEXA is not much use to patients with spinal deformity or those who have undergone spinal surgery.

It is a simple, quick and non-invasive procedure. For this, no anaesthesia is required. It is considered the best scanning system to diagnose osteoporosis and rule out the possible reason for the fracture. This type of scan makes it easy to rule out if further treatments are necessary or not.