Quick-and-easy bone density testing at McCullough-Hyde Memorial Hospital
What is a DEXA bone densitometry?
Every day, physicians use radiography, or X-rays, to view and evaluate bone fractures and other injuries of the musculoskeletal system. However, a plain X-ray test isn’t the best way to assess bone density. To detect osteoporosis accurately, doctors use an enhanced form of X-ray technology called dual energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA or DEXA). Dexa bone densitometry is today’s established standard for measuring bone mineral density. DEXA is a quick, painless procedure used to determine bone loss. The lower spine and hips are the most common areas to be assessed for bone loss. More portable devices that measure the wrist, fingers and heel may be used for bone density screening, but they aren’t as accurate as a DEXA exam. Some screening devices use ultrasound waves rather than X-rays.
What are some common uses of the procedure?
DEXA bone densitometry is most often used to diagnose osteoporosis, a condition that can affect women after menopause but is also found in men. Osteoporosis involves a gradual calcium loss, which causes bones to become thinner, more fragile and more likely to break.
The DEXA test can also assess your risk for developing fractures. If your bone density is found to be low, you and your physician can work together on a treatment plan to help prevent fractures before they occur. Dexa can also effectively track osteoporosis treatment and detect other conditions that cause bone loss. Bone density testing is strongly recommended if you:
• are a postmenopausal woman not taking estrogen
• have a personal or maternal history of hip fracture or smoking
• are a postmenopausal woman who is tall (over 5'7") or thin (less than 125 pounds)
• are a man with clinical conditions associated with bone loss
• use medications known to cause bone loss, including corticosteroids, such as prednisone; various anti-seizure medications, such as Dilantin; and certain barbiturates or high dose thyroid replacement drugs
• have type 1 diabetes (formerly called juvenile or insulin-dependent diabetes), liver disease or a family history of osteoporosis
• have high bone turnover, which shows up in the form of excessive collagen in urine samples
• have a thyroid condition, such as hyperthyroidism
• have experienced a fracture after only a mild trauma
• have had X-ray evidence of vertebral fracture or other signs of osteoporosis
McCullough-Hyde Memorial Hospital has registered technologists trained to perform DEXA examinations. Your DEXA will be interpreted by one of our radiologists, and the report will be sent to your physician.
If you’re postmenopausal and don’t have symptoms of bone density loss, you can make an appointment for a DEXA without an order from your physician. However, you must provide us with your physician’s name so we can provide him or her with the results to ensure adequate follow-up. To make an appointment, please call 513-524-5555. For more information, please call 513-524-5361.