Westfield Imaging Center - Summit Radiological Associates, P.A. Enhancing the Health of Our Patients
Bone Densitometry/DXA Scans FAQs

What is bone densitometry/DXA Scan?
Bone densitometry is an advanced technology that safely, accurately, and painlessly measures bone density and mineral content in order to determine the risk of developing osteoporosis.

What will the exam determine?
The exam measures your bone mineral density (BMD). It also compares your measurements to a reference population based on your age, weight, gender, and ethnic background. Your physician will determine whether treatment is needed based on the results of this test. If you are undergoing treatment, the scan monitors the effects of therapy.

What can I expect?
When you arrive at Westfield Imaging Center, our front desk staff will register you and help you with your paperwork. You will be called for your exam by the technologist as you relax in our waiting room. The technologist will bring you into the exam room and show you where to leave your belongings.

Is the exam safe?
Bone densitometry involves an extremely low dose of radiation. Westfield Imaging Center proudly uses state-of-the-art equipment, which delivers less than one-tenth the radiation dose of a traditional chest x-ray. As in any medical procedure, if you are pregnant be sure to inform our staff prior to your exam.

Why is DXA the preferred method for measuring bone density?
DXA scanning has been proven to be the most accurate method of measuring bone density, uses the least amount of radiation, and is lower in cost than other methods.

How should I prepare for my exam?
Unless instructed otherwise by one of our clinicians, eat normally on the day of the exam; but avoid taking calcium supplements for two days prior to your appointment.

Please wear loose, comfortable clothing. Sweat suits and other casual attire without zippers, buttons, grommets or any metal are preferred.

You should not have the following test for one week prior to your exam:

  • Esophogram/Upper GI Series/Barium Enema
  • Nuclear Medicine Study (radioisotope injection)
  • Oral or IV CT contrast

How long will I be in the exam room?
Your exam will take less than 1/2 an hour.

Will I be enclosed in a tube like an MRI?
No. You will be lying comfortably on your back. A small sensor will pass over your lower spine and left hip.

Why are you scanning my left hip when the pain is in my right hip?
The left hip and lumbar spine were chosen by the investigators who first utilized DXA scanning. All patients are scanned in these two regions so that there is uniformity in reporting. In most patients' the left hip is their non-dominant side, allowing for slightly earlier detection of osteoporosis. The right hip is occasionally measured if the left hip is not suitable (ex. prior left hip surgery or fracture).

When will I know the results?
Once your exam is completed, a Board Certified radiologist at Westfield Imaging Center will review the results. The radiologist will interpret the study and provide your doctor with a written report within 24 to 48 hours.

If you have any additional questions, please call us or your doctor.