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Radiology & Medical Imaging

DEXA (Bone Densitometry)


You must bring your prescription (order form) with you to the examination. Please follow these instructions carefully.

  • Take no calcium supplements (prescription or over the counter) for 24 hours prior to the exam.
  • The patient should not undergo any imaging studies containing contrast within one week prior to the exam, (CT scan, IVP, Nuclear Medicine, etc).

If you have any questions regarding these instructions, call 703.558.8500.

What is Osteoporosis and What Causes It?

Osteoporosis is a bone disease that occurs when the body loses too much bone, makes too little bone, or both. As a result, bones become weak and may break from a fall or, in serious cases, from sneezing or minor bumps.

Osteoporosis means “porous bone.” Viewed under a microscope, healthy bone looks like a honeycomb. When osteoporosis occurs, the holes and spaces in the honeycomb are much larger than in healthy bone. Osteoporotic bones have lost density or mass and contain abnormal tissue structure. As bones become less dense, they weaken and are more likely to break. If you’re 50 or older and have broken a bone, ask your doctor or healthcare provider about a bone density test.

The National Osteoporosis Foundation
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Bone mineral density (BMD)

The amount of bone tissue in a segment of bone. Measuring BMD is the best way to evaluate bone strength and predict fracture risk. Results are reported as T-scores and Z-scores. See also Dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DXA).

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