DXA Scanning

DXA

At Airedale the DXA scanning suite is located in the Day Hospital, not in the main Radiology department.

Scans are performed by dedicated radiographers with the help of a radiology assistant.

What is a DXA scan?

A DXA (dual energy x-ray absorptiometry) scan uses low dose x-rays. The radiation dose is similar to natural background radiation and is a tenth of the does of a chest x-ray. The main areas we scan are your lumber spine and hips as they are the two main areas at risk of osteoporosis fractures. A DXA scan is a painless, non-invasive procedure.

What is DXA used for?

The scans are performed to help diagnosis and treatment of Osteoporosis. They are also used to monitor treatment of patients already receiving bone enhancing therapies.

Osteoporosis occurs when the structure within bones becomes thin and causes bones to become fragile and break easily following a minor bump or fall. These are know as fragility fractures.

Bone density scanning, a DXA scan, is the most commonly used diagnostic technique for osteoporosis. Bone density is either within the normal range, slightly reduced (known as osteopenia) or more severely reduced (osteoporosis). Low bone density has been linked with an increased risk of fracture.

If a fracture, a broken bone, occurs after a low impact injury such as a fall from standing height, or following no injury at all, it may be due to reduced bone density i.e. osteoporosis. There is also a higher risk of further fractures with the consequence of pain, hospitalisation and decreased quality of life. We suggest you speak to your GP about having your bone density measured if concerned.

What will happen during a scan?

On arrival for your appointment please enter the Day Hospital, turn left through the double doors and take a seat in the waiting area.

We will talk through your questionnaire with you, (sent with your appointment letter). It is important that you also bring your medication list with you. You will then have your weight and height measured.

We will check to see if you need to change for your scan. Generally clothing does not need to be removed. Please do not wear jeans and we ask that women should avoid wearing under wired bras.

The DXA scan takes about 20 minutes and is not in any way unpleasant. You will lie on your back on a couch and a scan arm passes over your body taking an image of your spine and then your hips. Sometimes a further view of your spine is taken which involved lying on your side. The couch is open and does not involve being enclosed in a tunnel or having an injection.

When will I find out my results?

It is not possible at the time of your scan to give you the results. If you were referred for the scan by your GP make an appointment to see him/her after 3 weeks. If you were referred for your scan by a hospital Consultant you should receive a letter from the Consultant within 4 weeks informing you of the results of your DXA scan or inviting you to attend an outpatient clinic where the consultant will tell you the result.