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DEXA Scan

Underlying Problem Requiring a DEXA Scan:
The \"DEXA\" part of the term \"DEXA scan\" is an acronym for \"dual energy x-ray absorptiometry.\" This type of scan is used as a test to measure bone mineral density. This can be very important in determining if a patient is suffering from bone loss and how to go about treatment, if necessary. A DEXA scan is very likely for patients who have or are suspected of having osteoporosis or osteopenia, conditions that are especially common in post-menopausal women. These conditions are not limited to women, however, meaning that men can also benefit from undergoing a DEXA scan.

Treatment:

A DEXA scan is quite simple and is more accurate than a \'regular\' X-ray for measuring bone density in patients. In addition to being less expensive than other tests, a DEXA scan will also expose a patient to less radiation than a CT scan or radiographic absorptiometry.

The patient will generally be asked to stop taking calcium supplements for 48 hours before the DEXA scan. On the day of the test, he or she will be asked to remove any metal (including removable dental work, eyeglasses, and jewelry) and will likely be given a gown to wear. The patient will then lie on a table and may need to remain in a particular position as the scan is being done. It is common for the DEXA scan to measure the density of the hip bone.

The results of the scan will be compared with those of both a younger \'normal\' patient and an age-matched \'normal\' patient in order to compare the patient\'s bone density. Low scores indicate excessive bone loss for the patient\'s age.

Recovery from a DEXA Scan:

Other than a slight amount of discomfort that may result from holding one position during the test, there should be little need for recovery from a DEXA scan. It will not result in any restrictions on daily activities, and patients will generally be able to go home following the test.

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