What’s the purpose of the scan?
The DEXA Body Composition Scan provides information on your body’s fat tissue, muscle mass, and bone density. There are two components to the scan (not everyone will need both components):
- The body composition scan provides valuable information about your lean body mass and fat distribution that can be used to individualize lifestyle modification recommendations and health risk management discussions with your healthcare team.
- The bone density scan is a way to measure bone loss as you age and is therefore not routinely done on individuals younger than 45. It is the most useful and easy way to help diagnose mildly decreased bone strength, called osteopenia, and advanced decreased bone strength, called osteoporosis, which are conditions that have no symptoms before fractures occur.
At your follow-up appointment results will be reviewed and plan of care discussed, you will be given a printout with percentages and images of the data obtained that you can keep as a reference.
What to expect during a DEXA:
After measuring your height and weight, you will be escorted to the scanning table and asked to lie down and get comfortable. The scanning arm extends across the table, over your body, and works by sending a low dose x-ray beam that allows both soft tissue and bone measurements. The scan is painless and takes about 30 minutes to complete both parts of the study.
Make sure you are well hydrated and do not wear anything metal (zippers, metal snaps, etc) on the day of your test.
What your DEXA results mean:
The body composition measurements provide individualized information on lean mass and body fat, including where your body fat is concentrated. Abdominal cavity fat, or visceral fat, is a risk factor for cancer, diabetes, heart disease and dementia.
Bone density information results compare your findings to someone your age (Z-score) and to a healthy 30-year-old of the same sex (T-score). This allows prediction of potential fracture risk and provides valuable information for you and your doctor to discuss prevention, diagnosis and potential treatment of osteoporosis through risk factor modification and when indicated, medication.