How Much Radiation In A Dexa Scan?

December 9, 2010

The human bone is made up of a dense collection of hard material that helps maintain the structure of the human body by forming the skeletal system. There are many different conditions that can affect the density of the bones in the body. If the bone density is low, the bones of that person become brittle. This increases the risk of suffering from hairline cracks, chips and full fractures. Osteoporosis is a condition that causes the bone density to reduce. In severe cases, patients with osteoporosis required padded surfaces to sit and sleep on because of the intensity of their bone degradation. Osteoporosis can be treated and slowed through timely medical intervention.

One of the tests used to identify the problem of low bone density is the dexa scan. A dexa scan is a Dual Energy X-ray Absorptiometry test. This test uses two different x-ray beams to identify the density of the bone. One beam is a lower energy beam while the other is a higher energy beam. The results of the dexa scan are studied to understand the rate at which the beams are being absorbed into the bone. When the bone density is low, the beams are absorbed more easily whereas in a person with normal or high bone density, the x-ray is likely to be less well absorbed into the bone. The results of a dexa scan are presented in the form of a numerical score. There are two methods of scoring. One is to score a person against his or her gender and age based on data from a normal range. The other score is more comprehensive as it covers age, gender, ethnic background and the patient’s weight. Based on the score the bone density of the patient is understood. This can be used to diagnose osteoporosis and to provide treatments for the same. It should be noted that bone density is not the only factor that influences the chances of a person suffering from fractures.

The radiation that one is exposed to in a dexa scan is less than what one would experience from an x-ray scan. This makes it safer than a normal x-ray scan. It should be noted that pregnant mothers should avoid this scan unless it is absolutely necessary. When such a test is conducted on a pregnant mother, care should be taken to ensure that there is no negative impact on the health of the fetus.

Submitted by N on December 9, 2010 at 11:26

Read more questions in General