Bone Densitometry, also called Bone Density, Dual-Energy X-Ray absorptiometry, DEXA or DXA, uses a very small dose of ionizing radiation to produce pictures of the inside of the body (usually the lower/lumbar spine and hips) to measure bone loss. DXA is simple, quick and non-invasive. It’s the most commonly used method for diagnosing osteoporosis and assessing an individual’s risk for developing osteoporotic fractures.
01 Bone Densitometry
Bone Densitometry is offered at both our Oakridge Mall and 5752 Victoria Drive Clinics by appointment only. Please note, for accurate results you must return to the same location for all future Bone Densitometry examinations.
02 Exam Prep
This exam requires no special preparation. Leave jewelry at home and wear loose, comfortable clothing with no metal or other decorations. You may be asked to wear a gown if your clothing is not suitable.
To ensure accuracy of the results:
- Do not take calcium supplements for at least 24 hours before your exam.
- You should not have a Bone Densitometry scan within 6 weeks of a CT/MRI/Nuclear Medicine scan in which you had an injection
- 1Do I need a requisition/referral from my Doctor?
Yes, you will need a requisition/referral from your Doctor for all Bone Densitometry exams.
- 2Do I need to book an appointment?
Yes, Bone Densitometry requires an appointment, we offer appointments at both our Oakridge Mall and 5752 Victoria Drive offices. Many patients will have a Bone Density test every few years and you must return to the same location each time, so please pick the most convenient office first time.
- 3How often can I have a Bone Density Test?
MSP covers a Bone Density Scan as frequently as every 3 years, however certain medications allow for you to have the scan more frequently than that. You do not need to have the scan every 3 years, some people may only have it once, so you should discuss with your Doctor the right frequency for you.
- 4Is there any preparation?
There is no preparation and you can eat and drink normally on the day of the scan. Please do not take any calcium supplements for 24 hours prior to your appointment, you may take it after your scan if needed.
- 5Can I have a Bone Density test if I am pregnant or think I may be pregnant?
No, due to the area that is examined, this test is not suitable for those who are pregnant.
- 6Is there a weight limit for this exam?
Unfortunately, our equipment is only capable of scanning patients under 300lbs.
- 7How long will my exam take?
You will fill out a small questionnaire and then change into a gown if necessary, the scan itself only takes 10 – 15 minutes, but plan to spend 30-40 minutes in our office.
- 8Do I get an injection? Will I feel anything?
No, you will not need an injection and you will not feel the examination taking place.
- 9I’m claustrophobic, will I be trapped in?
No, Bone Density machines have an arm that moves over you. During set up this will pass over your head to move to the center of your body. Once the scan is done it moves back over your head out of the way. During the scan you will be looking at the ceiling as if you were laying in bed.
- 10Another body part is hurting me, can you scan that?
No, Bone Densitometry only measures how strong the bones are, and does not diagnose the cause of pain in those areas. The machine can only scan specific body parts to obtain a bone density reading. If you are concerned about pain anywhere in your body, including those areas the scan covers, you should discuss with your Doctor.
- 11My relative does not speak English, what can we do to help prepare them for a Bone Density scan?
Greig Associates is very multicultural, and our staff have learned small phrases in many languages to assist those that are not confident in their English abilities as best as we can. You can help your relative by going over the points below;
- Ensure your relative brings their BC Services Card and referral paper. If their Doctor has faxed the paper to us, please call to ensure we have it.
- Your relative will need to present their BC Services Card to both the administrative staff at check in, and to the Technologist to confirm their identity before having their Bone Densitometry scan.
- Ensure your relative understands only their back and hip will be scanned, that they may need to remove their shirt, bra and pants/skirt and change into a medical gown.
- The scan is performed lying flat on their back. Please make sure your relative understands that the Technologist may touch their leg or hip to assist in positioning.
- 12How much Radiation will I receive? Is Bone Densitometry Safe?
The amount of Radiation received during a Bone Density scan is extremely low, lower than a standard X-Ray test in most cases. You can read more about the safety of radiation at https://www.iaea.org/resources/rpop/patients-and-public/x-rays. If you have any concerns about the amount of radiation or number of X-Rays you are having, please speak to your Doctor.