A Dexa Scanner (Dual Energy X-ray Absorbiometry) is a special machine to measure bone density.
Safety — a DEXA scan is painless and safe. Exams are performed while you are fully dressed. The test usually takes less than 15 minutes and is noninvasive (no needles or instruments are placed through the skin or in the body). In fact, flying on a plane round trip between New York and San Francisco exposes you to 10 to 15 times more radiation than the test, which is less than a regular x-ray.
VFA - vertebral fracture assessment is done with the DEXA machine (in conjunction with density testing) and can show any breaks or compression fractures in the spine. Once you have a break in the spine additional breaks are more likely and the importance of treatment for osteoporosis increases.
FRAX — New ten-year fracture risk calculator computer software from the World Health Organization. By combining 11 of the highest risk factors including age, personal history of fractures, and country specific life expectancy and fracture data, FRAX identifies patients who are at high risk for fracture but would not be candidates for preventative therapy using the traditional DEXA scan alone. The FRAX software is built into our DEXA scanner helping make sure that people with the greatest chance of breaking a bone are treated.
Understanding DEXA results
Following a DEXA scan a T- score will be issued as a result and is used to make the diagnosis of osteoporosis. Your T score means:
- A T- score of -1 and above is normal bone density
- A T- score between -1 and -2.5 is low bone density or osteopenia
- A T- score of -2.5 and below is osteoporosis
The T- score shows how much your bone density is above or below normal compared to an average 30-year-old adult who is healthy.