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Reasons, Preparation and Procedure to Conduct a DEXA Scan

Submitted on March 27, 2012

Bones play a vital role in enabling normal body movement by providing support to the muscles. However, the bone tissues may undergo degeneration due to the loss of calcium and phosphorus that constitute them, leading to chronic joint pains and an increased risk of fractures. The causes behind this could be old age, early onset on menopause in women, regular intake of certain drugs like cortisone, excessive consumption of alcohol and cigarettes or the deficiency of essential minerals in the diet.

Reasons For Conducting a DEXA Scan

Dexa bone scan for osteoporosis reveals the degree of degeneration of the bone tissue and helps determine the consequent risk of fractures in the most vulnerable parts of the body, such as the hips, wrist, feet and the back. Dexa scan for bone density not only show exactly how fragile the bones of the patient has become, but also throws light on how well the patient is responding to an ongoing osteoporosis. Dexa scan also has the added advantage of being much more effective in detecting loss of bone tissue in the early stages of osteoporosis than a normal X-ray scan.

Preparation

Dexa bone scan does not require any special preparation. You may be asked by your physician to temporarily discontinue the consumption of certain kinds of medicines a few days in advance of the scan. In addition, you would be advised to wear light, natural fabric during the test and to not put on any metal jewelry or accessories around the area which is being tested, as this might cause interference with the procedure. The actual process itself takes no more than 10-20 minutes and is absolutely painless. The patient has to simply remain still while the affected portion of their body is exposed to the radiation. Pregnant women are advised to go in for this scan only after consulting a doctor.

Procedure

Dexa scan involves a technique called Dual Energy X-ray absorptiometry, in which the bones are exposed to a small amount of radiation under controlled conditions for a very short period of time. The patient may be either required to step into an X-ray chamber and lie still on a table for a few minutes or simply be tested using small, portable devices. The results of the scan come in the form of a score, called the T-score. If your T-score is greater than minus-1, your bone density is normal. If it is between minus-1 and minus-2.5, you are suffering from osteopenia, that is, a considerable risk of developing osteoporosis. If your score is less than minus-2.5, you are definitely suffering from osteoporosis.

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