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Bone Densitometry


Bone densitometry is a scan (test) that measures bone density. A loss of density may increase your risk for osteoporosis. Bone densitometry is also called a dual energy x-ray absorptiometry (DXA) scan. DXA scans use x-rays to show if your bones have lost minerals, such as calcium, causing them to become weak. DXA scans are usually done on your hip, spine, or forearm. A DXA scan can also be done of your entire body.


Before your procedure:

  • Informed consent is a legal document that explains the tests, treatments, or procedures that you may need. Informed consent means you understand what will be done and can make decisions about what you want. You give your permission when you sign the consent form. You can have someone sign this form for you if you are not able to sign it. You have the right to understand your medical care in words you know. Before you sign the consent form, understand the risks and benefits of what will be done. Make sure all your questions are answered.
  • You will need to remove any metal that is near the body area being scanned. This includes jewelry, clothing with zippers, coins, body piercings, or an underwire bra.

During your procedure:

You will lie on the DXA scan table. The scanner will pass over you and take pictures. Keep still during your scan so the pictures of your bones are clear. The DXA scan lasts between 10 and 30 minutes, depending on the area being scanned.


The scan may not show bone loss, and you may not get needed treatment. The scan may show abnormal bone density when you have had no bone loss. If this occurs, you may get treatment you do not need. If you do not have the DXA scan, you may have bone loss that is not found. This may increase your risk of breaking a bone.


You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

Learn more about Bone Densitometry (Inpatient Care)

Micromedex® Care Notes