Who Should Have A Dexa Scan?

December 9, 2010

A Dexa scan, also known as Dual Energy X-ray Absortiometry, is a widely used method of measuring bone mineral density. It is a procedure used to assess the strength of bones and the probability of a fracture. The DEXA scan is generally used by specialists to examine and observe osteoporosis in affected patients. The scan is relatively simple and usually takes up a few minutes. The Dexa scan is also recommended for people who stand at a risk of osteoporosis.

Who should have a DEXA scan?

  • Patients afflicted with Gorhams vanishing bone disease or Lymphangiomatosis
  • Women with deficient estrogen and at clinical risk for fragile porous bones attributable to a lack of calcium
  • Proof of vertebral irregularities
  • Long term use of steroidal medications
  • Patients suffering from a glandular disease known as primary hyperparathyroidism which can affect many systems of the body, especially causing bone resorption and osteoporosis.


It is strongly recommended that women over the age of 60 should undergo a DEXA scan. It is important due to numerous possible risk factors such as prior fragility injury, consumption of steroidal hormones, regular smoking, intake of steady alcohol, atrophic arthritis, prior incidence of hip fracture, chronic nephritic and liver disorders, chronic respiratory illness, long-run use of barbiturates used as a sedatives, celiac disease, inflammatory bowel disorders and other hazards. It is also advisable that men over the age of 50 years get a Dexa scan for the same reasons.

A DEXA scan evaluation analyzes the patient's bone mineral density (BMD) levels with the values of a young normal patient (referred to as a T score) and with an age-matched normal patient (referred to as a Z score). By studying a patient's BMD levels against their peers, a low mark suggests there may be grounds other than age-related bone loss.

The Dexa scanning machine emits slim, inconspicuous beams of low-intensity electromagnetic radiations with two definite energy peaks through the bones that are being investigated. One peak gets absorbed by the surrounding soft tissue and the other is received by the bone. The amount taken by the soft tissue is then deducted from the aggregate, and what stays on is the patient's BMD.

Since the Dexa scan is considered affordable, accessible and easy to use, it is believed to be the most widely used technique for bone measurements. Moreover, given its ability to provide a precise estimation of bone mineral density in adults, it is considered to be the best evaluation tool available.

Submitted by N S on December 9, 2010 at 10:53

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