What is DEXA Scan?

DEXA Scan For Diagnosis of Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is responsible for 1.5 million fractures in the United States each year. Half of the women over age 50 can expect to suffer an osteoporotic fracture during their lifetime.

DEXA stands for ‘Dual Energy X-ray Absorptiometry’. It is the most commonly used test for measuring bone mineral density. It is one of the most accurate ways to diagnosis Osteopenia or Osteoporosis. AMI examines the hip, spine and occasionally the forearm because these are the sites where osteoporosis first occurs. A dual energy beam of very low dose x-rays passes through the area being examined. The detectors then compare the amount of x-rays absorbed by the bone to the amount absorbed by the non-bony tissues of the body. DEXA Scan provides a measurement of the bone mineral density so your physician can determine if you have osteoporosis and if you need to be treated. If you are being treated, a DEXASCAN can monitor the effects of therapy. DEXA scanning has proven to be the most accurate method of measuring bone density, uses the least amount of radiation and is lower in cost than other methods.


Who can benefit from a DEXA scan?

Bone density screenings are recommended for:

  •  All women age 65 and over
  • Postmenopausal women younger than 65, if they have multiple risk factors for osteoporosis.
  • Women at menopause to determine whether hormone-replacement therapy is advisable
  • Patients (both men and women) who have taken medications that increase osteoporosis risk
  • Patients (both men and women) diagnosed with an overactive parathyroid gland
  • Patients with other risk factors for bone loss as assessed by their primary care provider

 Insurance Coverage

  • Medicare covers a DEXA scan every two years for women age 65 or over who have risk factors for osteoporosis. Men with one or more osteoporosis risk factors are also covered.
  • Most insurers cover a DEXA scan for women with risk factors for osteoporosis. Coverage for men is more variable. Patients should check with their insurance carrier to verify coverage and obtain information.


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