Procedure For Conducting a Dexa Scan

Submitted by Medical Health Test Team on November 9, 2012

The human body is made up of a skeletal system consisting of 206 bones. These bones form the solid frame of the body on which the muscles and tissues are supported. The skeleton is important in providing strength and structure to the body. There are several different problems that can affect a bone or many bones in the body. These include bone cancer, bone inflammation, bone fractures and bone density problems. For bone density problems a specialized medical test is conducted known as a DEXA scan. The DEXA scan, or Dual Energy X-ray Absorptiometry scan, is a procedure that uses X-ray radiation to analyze the bone structure of an individual and to measure the density of the bone. This is done by applying two different X-ray beams. The beams, one low powered and one high powered, are fired at the bones of the body. The absorption rate of the bone is then measured. This is done by comparing the strength of the beams (which is known in the machine) and the rate at which each beam sends back an image of the bone.

The DEXA scan procedure is relatively simple and can be conducted without requirement for the person to be admitted in a hospital. It is usually conducted at a clinic that deals with bone health and other bone related issues. This is because a specialized X-ray machine is required for this test to be conducted. The DEXA scan test is a popular method of scanning bone density and is therefore cheap and easily accessible. This machine measures the bone density and provides a score to the doctor. The DEXA scan procedure itself is very simple. It requires the patient to lie on an X-ray bed and the scanner is then allowed to pass over the body. The scan takes just a few minutes and requires the patient to stay still. Any jerks or movement will ruin the test and the test will need to be redone. After the DEXA scan procedure the patient can proceed with life as normal because no injections or medications are used.

The DEXA scan procedure produces a test score. This score is adjusted based on either the T-score or Z-score measurement system. In the T-score system, the patient's gender is considered and the score modified accordingly, whereas in the Z-score system, the gender, age, ethnicity and body weight are considered as factors of measurement. This makes the Z-score more thorough as it includes many more relevant factors than the T-score.

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