Bone Density (DEXA) Scans

Osteoporosis is a medical condition that slows the production of bone tissue that is used to replace aging bone tissue. When you are not able to make enough bone tissue or begin losing it at a high rate, the risk of bone fractures dramatically increases. In America, around ten million people are affected by osteoporosis, with 80% of them being women. Women have a higher risk of developing osteoporosis due to their natural hormonal changes.

As you age, your doctor may recommend monitoring your bone mass over time through a bone density scan, also known as a DEXA scan. Dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DEXA) scans are the only medical imaging study capable of detecting osteoporosis before a fracture occurs, allowing you and your doctor to plan accordingly.

You lose bone density throughout life as part of the body's natural process of replacing old bone with new. Around the age of 30, the rate of bone loss may begin to outpace the rate of bone replacement, setting the stage for osteopenia, the precursor for osteoporosis.

Woman Smiling Before Her DEXA Scan Study Starts
Grandparents Gardening With Their Grandchild

Our Dexa Scan Locations

South Jersey Radiology offers DEXA scans across 6 of our office locations. With evening, weekend, and same-day appointments available, monitoring your bone density and maintaining your active lifestyle has never been easier. Visit one of our office locations today.

Frequently Asked Questions

Understanding the proper preparation and expectations can help alleviate any anxiety you might have prior to your appointment. Learn about the risk factors for osteoporosis and what to expect during your DEXA scan appointment with our frequently asked questions.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends bone density (DEXA) scans to help prevent fractures and bone loss for:

  • Women over the age of 65.
  • Women who are between the ages of 50 to 64 with certain risk factors.
  • Men over the age of 70.
  • Men who are between the ages of 50 to 69 with certain risk factors.
  • Men and women who had a fracture after the age of 50.

There are numerous factors that affect your risk of developing osteoporosis. Here are the risk factors:

  • Gender – Women are more likely to develop osteoporosis due to the changes that happen during menopause.
  • Age – As you age, your bone density naturally decreases.
  • Body size – People who have a smaller frame tend to have a higher risk because they have less bone mass overall.
  • Ethnicity – People who are of Caucasian or Asian descent.
  • Family history – People who have family members that have developed osteoporosis.
  • Diet – People who have a low calcium intake are at greater risk.
  • Hormone production – People who have lowered sex hormone levels are at greater risk.

A bone density (DEXA) scan is a completely painless and noninvasive imaging study. When you arrive for your appointment, you will be asked to lie still on a table positioned between an X-ray machine and a computer-assisted detector above. The detector will slowly hover over your hip and spine. The study takes between 20 – 30 minutes to complete. After the study, our subspecialized radiologist will interpret and analyze the results to send over to your doctor. Based on the test results, your doctor will create a treatment plan that works for you to improve your bone health and reduce the risk of fractures.

Generally, the testing frequency for DEXA scans is determined by your overall risk factors and previous testing results. If you have healthy bone density, your doctor may not recommend a follow-up scan for 15 – 20 years. If your results indicate signs of osteopenia or osteoporosis, you may need DEXA scans more routinely. Please consult with your referring doctor.

South Jersey Radiology is in-network with 99% of health insurance providers. If you are unsure about our network status with your health insurance provider, please contact your provider directly. In some cases, insurance companies may attempt to tell you which radiology centers are preferred. As the patient, you have the right to choose if you would like your study performed as South Jersey Radiology.