Dual Energy X-Ray (DEXA)

What Is a Dexa Scan?

A DEXA (Dual Energy X-ray) scan is the most commonly used test to measure bone mineral density. It is the most accurate way to diagnose Osteopenia or Osteoporosis.

While these conditions are not common in children, patients with certain conditions or those taking particular medications may be more prone to developing Osteopenia or Osteoporosis.

Prior to exam:

DEXA is a non-invasive test that requires little preparation. Your child may eat and drink normally prior to the test.

They must not take any calcium supplements or any other type of medication for Osteopenia or Ostoporoses for 48 hours prior to the test.

Dress your child in comfortable clothing with no metal objects such as zippers or snaps. Remove any jewelry as well.

When you arrive:

The registration process begins at Referred Testing on the Second floor of the McWane Building at Children's of Alabama.

Please arrive at the referred testing desk 45 minutes prior to your scheduled exam time.

Once the registration process is completed, a technologist will greet you and escort you to the Dexa examination room.

During the exam:

The technologist will explain the procedure to you and your child. Your child's height and weight will be measured and they will be asked to remove any jewelry, shoes and other metal objects that may interfere with the exam. (A gown may be necessary)

The child will be placed flat on the exam table with the scanner above them. It will travel slowly, along entire length of their body, from head to toe. It will not touch them. Then, it will be repositioned and the lower spine will be scanned.

Most DEXA exams will take approximately 30 minutes or less.

After the exam:

There are no special instructions for your child to follow once the exam is complete.

Test Results:

The images from your child's exam are interpreted by a pediatric radiologist and a report is sent to your physician's office.

If your physician has any questions regarding the report, he/she may call 205-638-9730

Have a question or concern about your child's exam?