DEXA Bone Mineral Densitometry Scan

What is a DEXA mineral densitometry scan?

Dual energy X-ray absorptiometry (DEXA), also known as bone density scanning or bone densitometry, is an X-ray that measures bone mineral density (BMD) and evaluates bone strength and the risk of breakages and fractures. If the scan indicates that density is high, it generally means that the risk of fracture is low.

What can a DEXA mineral densitometry scan diagnose?

A DEXA scan will determine whether osteoporosis is present, which is a condition that causes the bones to weaken and become porous. Osteoporosis is a medical condition that infers that the bones fragility health is poor and the person is at higher risk of fractures and breaks. Osteoporosis is caused by either hormonal changes, a loss of tissue or a deficiency of calcium or vitamin D, which in turn causes the bones to become brittle.

What is required to prepare for a DEXA mineral densitometry scan?

No preparation is required for a DEXA scan and patients are to eat, drink and take their medications as usual.

During the scan

The scan is not invasive, quick and painless. There are no tunnels or confined spaces and no injections or preparation procedures are required.

Bone mineral density is measured by scanning both the hip and spine due to bone mineralisation not being uniform throughout the body. Patients will be required to change into a gown and lie as instructed on a padded table, which forms part of the DEXA unit. There are two components to the machine; an X-ray generator, which is found underneath the patient and an imaging device, which is positioned above. These two components will work together to take a very fast scan of the hip, which can take less than 60 seconds.

What technology is used?

We use a MedixDR Whole Body DEXA System to conduct our DEXA scan in Double Bay. It is Medilinks latest innovation to test bone densitometry and body composition and provides our radiologists with high quality images as well as fast exam times.

At Medscan we pride ourselves on using only the best and latest technology for our patients.

Procedure risks

There are no risks associated with a DEXA scan as only a very small dose of radiation is required. To put this into perspective, it is similar to the background radiation you are currently exposed to and the technologist who is conducting the scan is able to remain in the room. As with any scan, women who believe that they could be pregnant should always inform the technician prior to the scan. There are no side or after effects of a DEXA scan.


No appointment is necessary to receive a DEXA scan in Double Bay. Simply turn up on the day you would like the scan to be conducted on.


We will send a comprehensive report of your BMD scan directly to your referring doctor, so please ensure you have scheduled a follow-up appointment with your doctor to discuss your results.

The results of your test will be section into two scores:

  • T-Score – which will estimate your risk of developing a fracture.
  • Z-Score – will compare your bone levels to people of the same age, gender and size.