Bone Density Laboratory
DXA is an abbreviation for Dual Energy X-Ray Absorptiometry. A DXA scan is a special x-ray test that measures a person’s bone mineral density (BMD), or the amount of calcium and other minerals in the bone. The amount of minerals you have in your skeleton determine how strong it is and how much trauma or force it can withstand before it fractures.
Some bone diseases, such as Osteogenesis Imperfecta (OI), result in very low bone mineral density. Patients with these types of diseases break their bones often, even during normal activities such as walking. Osteopenia (low bone density) and Osteoporosis (brittle bones) can also be detected using the DXA scan.
Typically, three areas of the body are scanned, the wrist, hip and spine. These are the areas most likely fractured due to low bone density. There is no special preparation required to have this test. It is completely painless and takes about 30 minutes to complete.
During the DXA test, a beam of very low dose x-rays pass through the specific area of the body and is measured. This is very safe, involving radiation exposure about the equivalence of playing outdoors all day on a summer day.