DEXA Scan in Mobile, AL

What Is a DEXA Scan?

To accurately detect osteoporosis, our radiologists often use DEXA bone densitometry to measure bone mineral density (BMD). DEXA is a quick, painless procedure for measuring bone loss. Measurement of the lower spine and hips are among the most commonly performed. Peripheral dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (P-DEXA) machine, which measures bone density in the wrist or forearm, are portable units that can be used in a standard medical office setting.

There are eight Alabama Coastal Radiology, P.C. clinics conveniently located in the Mobile area. Our radiologists are all board-certified by the American Board of Radiology and have extensive experience performing accurate DEXA scans for osteoporosis screenings. We have diagnostic radiology clinics in Mobile, Saraland, Daphne, Bay Minette, and Fairhope. Give your preferred location a call today for more information on osteoporosis and DEXA scans from a board-certified radiologist.

What Are Some Common Uses of a DEXA Scan?

DEXA bone densitometry is commonly used to diagnose osteoporosis, a condition that often affects women after menopause but may also be found in men. Osteoporosis involves a gradual loss of calcium, causing bones to thin, become more fragile, and be more likely to break.

The DEXA test can also assess your risk for developing fractures and is effective in tracking the effects of treatment for osteoporosis and other conditions that can cause bone loss. Bone density testing is recommended for:

  • Post-menopausal women age 60 or older who have risk factors for developing osteoporosis
  • Patients with a personal or maternal history of hip fracture or smoking
  • Post-menopausal women who are tall (over 5 feet 7 inches) or thin (less than 125 pounds)
  • Men and women who have hyperparathyroidism
  • Men and women who have been on medications that are known to cause bone loss for an extended period

How Should I Prepare for a DEXA Scan?

  • Refrain from taking calcium supplements for at least 24 hours beforehand.
  • Wear comfortable clothing and avoid garments that have zippers, belts, or buttons made of metal.
  • Let your technologist know if you’ve recently had a barium examination or have been injected with a contrast material for a CT or radioisotope scan.
  • Let your technologist know if there is a possibility you are pregnant.

What Should I Expect During a DEXA Scan?

Depending on the equipment used and the parts of the body being examined, this particular imaging test may take between 10 to 30 minutes.

  • You may be asked to undress and put on a gown.
  • You’ll lie on a padded table with an X-ray generator below and a detector (an imaging device) above. You must remain as still as possible during the procedure to ensure a clear and useful image.
  • When evaluating bone loss in the spine and hip where most osteoporosis-related fractures happen:
    • Spine: During an examination of the spine, your legs will be supported on a padded box to flatten your pelvis and lower (lumbar) spine.
    • Hip: The technologist will place your foot in a brace that rotates the hip inward.
  • The detector is scanned over the area, generating images on a computer monitor.

What Will I Experience During a DEXA Scan?

DEXA bone densitometry is a simple, painless, and non-invasive procedure. Once on the examination table, you may be asked to remain still and to hold an awkward position for a short time while the machine takes measurements.

Who Interprets the Results of a DEXA Scan?

The results of a DEXA bone density exam are interpreted by a radiologist before being given to your primary physician. Your test results will be in the form of two scores:

T score – This number shows the amount of bone you have compared to a young adult of the same gender with peak bone mass. A score above -1 is considered normal. A score between -1 and -2.5 is classified as osteopenia, the first stage of bone loss. A score below -2.5 is defined as osteoporosis. It is used to estimate your risk of developing a fracture.

Z score – This number reflects the amount of bone you have compared to other people in your age group and of the same size and gender. If it is unusually high or low, it may indicate a need for further medical tests.

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Bone Density Scan Information from Alabama Coastal Radiology, P.C.

If you have further questions about DEXA Scans, feel free to contact Alabama Coastal Radiology, P.C. at your preferred location. Our board-certified radiologists conduct DEXA scans for osteoporosis screenings throughout Alabama including in Mobile, Saraland, Daphne, Fairhope, and Bay Minette.