Daniel K. Park, MD

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DEXA Scan

There are a variety of diagnostic exams your doctor may recommend to determine the cause of your back and/or neck pain, as well as the type of treatment that may be appropriate for you.

What Is A DEXA Scan?

A DEXA (Dual Energy X-ray Absorptiometry) scan measures bone mineral density to check for possible bone loss.

How Is A DEXA Scan Done?

During the test, the patient lies fully clothed on a padded table while the DEXA scanner beams x-rays from two sources towards the bone being examined (usually the lower spine or hip). A radiation detector device is slowly passed over the examination area, producing images that are projected onto a monitor. A computer then analyzes the images and calculates bone density based on the amount of radiation absorbed by the bone (the denser the bone, the more radiation it absorbs).

The test, which may take up to 30 minutes, is performed by a physician or technician and requires no injections, sedation, special diet or any other advance preparation.

Are There Any Potential Risks Or Complications?

DEXA scans are painless; after the test you can resume your normal activities. The risks involved are the same as those of conventional x-rays; please advise your doctor if you are pregnant, have asthma or allergies or a medical condition such as diabetes, heart disease or thyroid problems.

Before undergoing your exam, please ask your doctor or a member of the office staff about any special pre- or post-exam instructions.