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Osteoporosis Center

Quillen College of Medicine

Preparing for Bone Density Scan
Basic Facts

Bone mineral density testing using dual x-ray absorptiometry (DXA) is simple, safe, painless, quick, accurate, and precise.

  • You must be able to stand and walk to the table. If this is not possible, only forearms will be scanned.
  • The test is NOT recommended if you are pregnant or likely to be pregnant.
  • If your weight is over 300 pounds, hip and spine scans are not reliable, and only forearms will be scanned.
  • The test is used to:
        Detect osteoporosis early before a fracture occurs
        Predict the fracture risk
        Monitor the effects of treatment

Before the Test

  • Do NOT take a calcium supplement the day of your test, or you may be rescheduled.
  • Bring a list of your medications with you (including over-the-counter medications).
  • Fasting is not necessary.
  • Arrive 15 minutes before your appointment time.
  • Wear comfortable clothes that do not include metal buttons, zippers, etc.

What to Expect During the Test

  • It is not necessary to remove clothing for this procedure.
  • You will lie on a table while the machine moves over your body. There is no contact with the machine.
  • The actual scan takes only a few minutes.

After the Test

An interpretation of the results will be sent to your referring physician. Please check with him or her for test results.

If you have any questions about this procedure, please call us at 423.439.8830.

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