Bone Densitometry, also referred to as dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry or DEXA, is a type of an x-ray medical imaging exam used to produce images of your body. It is most commonly used to evaluate the density of your bones, usually of the hips or lumbar spine, to evaluate for bone loss and calculate the probability of your risk for developing a future fracture. DEXA is the most accurate method for diagnosing osteopenia and osteoporosis.

DEXA is fast, safe, painless and requires a very small amount of ionizing radiation to produce the images. A DEXA exam can be performed at our outpatient clinic located in the Norton Medical Building, at the Mercy Health Lakes Village Comprehensive Breast Center and at our hospital locations. A scheduled appointment is required. Your doctor usually requests a DEXA exam to determine your initial bone density or as a follow-up to evaluate the effectiveness of treatment aimed at preventing or reversing bone loss.

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What is DEXA used for?

Where do I go for a DEXA exam?

How do I prepare for a DEXA exam?

What are the benefits and risks of a DEXA exam?

What will I experience during a DEXA exam?

How do I get the results of a DEXA exam?

Are the costs of a DEXA exam covered by insurance?

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What is DEXA used for?

DEXA is a type of X-ray used mainly to evaluate the density of a patient’s bones to assess for a reduction in bone density and also calculate a patient’s risk for the probability of developing a future fracture. A DEXA exam is often performed on an annual basis as a diagnostic screening tool most commonly in middle-aged and elderly women. DEXA exams are useful for determining an initial baseline bone mineral density or as a follow-up to evaluate the effectiveness of treatment aimed at preventing or reversing bone loss.

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Where do I go for a DEXA exam?

A DEXA exam can be performed at our outpatient clinic located in the Norton Medical Building, at the Mercy Health Lakes Village Comprehensive Breast Center and at our hospital locations. A scheduled appointment is usually required, with the exception of walk-in appointments at our outpatient clinic in the Norton Medical Building.

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How do I prepare for a DEXA exam?

Limited preparation is required. Loose fitting clothing is recommended. Patients may be asked to change into a gown provided by the imaging facility, remove jewelry or empty pockets prior to the exam.

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What are the benefits and risks of a DEXA exam?

DEXA exams are safe, fast, easy, painless and widely accessible. We preform DEXA exams at multiple imaging facilities within West Michigan. The only risk of a DEXA exam is its use of ionizing radiation to create images. The amount of radiation required for a DEXA exam is very low.

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What will I experience during a DEXA exam?

Patients will be asked to lay on the DEXA imaging table while the X-rays are performed. The DEXA exam itself is fast and painless. Some discomfort is possible during an exam depending upon the positioning required of the body part to be imaged. The vast majority of X-ray exams are tolerated well by patients.

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How do I get the results of a DEXA exam?

Exam results are usually available within 24 hours after the exam is performed. Once the exam is interpreted and reported by the radiologist, the exam results become immediately available for review by the requesting physician through the secure Mercy Health Partners patient portal system and the results become part of the patient’s permanent medical record. Patients can request a copy of their images at the performing imaging facility.

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Are the costs of a DEXA exam covered by insurance?

All or nearly all DEXA exam costs are covered by private insurance plans and Medicaid/Medicare plans. Generally speaking, the cost of DEXA exams are low. At Radiology Muskegon, we strive to reduce unnecessary costs incurred by patients. There are options available to patients for financial assistance or reduced payment plan options if patients are not able to pay the costs of imaging.

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