What Does Bone Densitometry Measure?

A bone densitometry test or a DEXA scan measures a person’s bone mineral density and content. It also measures fat and lean muscle in the body. This scan is commonly known to diagnose any bone-related illness such as osteoporosis and osteopenia, or to assess the risk a person has of getting them.


At ZP Rad in New York, NY, we offer DEXA scans and other screening services like x-rays and breast biopsies. Read on to learn more about bone densitometry tests, and contact us today to schedule an appointment. 

A doctor looking at testing options on a tablet and marking on a sheet.

Who Should Get This Test?

There are a few factors to consider before getting a DEXA scan, and there are some people who need to get this test done more than others. We strongly recommend a DEXA scan if you break a bone over the age of 50, you are a postmenopausal woman whose not taking estrogen, or you are exhibiting signs of osteoporosis. You should also consider a DEXA scan if you have a family history of bone-related problems, have a thyroid condition, use medications that are known to cause bone loss, or have high bone turnover.

How to Prepare for the DEXA Scan

Preparing for this test is relatively easy as there are no special preparations required.You will want to wear comfortable clothes that do not have any zippers or metal on them, but you can also put on a hospital gown when you arrive at our clinic. If you have been taking calcium supplements, you will be required to stop taking them for at least 24 hours before your test. If you are pregnant or have gone through certain medical procedures, such as a barium enema, you should share this information with your doctor before your DEXA test day.

Bone density device table used to perform DEXA scans.
A woman laying on a DEXA scan table in a hospital gown with a doctor standing next to her.

What the Scan Involves

This scan is a quick outpatient procedure. It involves you lying on an x-ray table while the DEXA machine passes over your body using an enhanced form of x-ray technology to measure your bone density, muscles, and fat. The bone densitometry test takes about 10 to 30 minutes at most to complete. It truly is a quick and painless process. 

Why Get This Test?

The main reason many people get this test done is to measure their bone mineral content and density. However, the scan can also be used to check whether your osteoporosis treatments are working. DEXA scans can also help determine your risk of getting a bone fracture.

A happy female doctor smiling for the camera with a pen and medical pad on her desk.

At ZP Rad, our DEXA scans are safe, quick, and painless. Once you are done with the test, our highly trained radiologists will review and interpret your results for you and recommend next steps in care. Contact our office with any questions you may have, and book your DEXA scan today!