DXA Bone Density Test

What is a bone density test?

A bone density test is a simple, painless procedure to measure the mass (density) of your bones.

 

Bone density tests use a small amount of radiation. It equals about one-tenth or less of what you receive in a chest x-ray, or the same amount of radiation as in an airplane flight from Boston to San Francisco.

What does “DXA” mean?

The best bone density test uses a method called DXA (DECK-sa). DXA stands for “dual energy x-ray absorptiometry.”

 

What happens during the test?

For this test, you will be asked to lie perfectly still on a table. A moveable arm passes over the area to be tested (usually your lower spine and one hip). The entire procedure takes about 20 minutes.

 

Your DXA test results

The results of the DXA test come as a “T-score.” Your T-score compares your bone mass to the “peak” (maximum) bone mass that the average person reaches.

  • Normal bone mass: T-score rating of -1.0 or higher
  • Low bone mass (osteopenia): T-score rating of -1 to -2.5
  • Osteoporosis: T-score rating of -2.5

Your T-score will help your doctor decide what you need to do to protect your bone health.

©  UPMC | Affiliated with the University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences
Supplemental content provided by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions. All rights reserved.

For help in finding a doctor or health service that suits your needs, call the UPMC Referral Service at 412-647-UPMC (8762) or 1-800-533-UPMC (8762). Select option 1.

UPMC is an equal opportunity employer. UPMC policy prohibits discrimination or harassment on the basis of race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, age, sex, genetics, sexual orientation, marital status, familial status, disability, veteran status, or any other legally protected group status. Further, UPMC will continue to support and promote equal employment opportunity, human dignity, and racial, ethnic, and cultural diversity. This policy applies to admissions, employment, and access to and treatment in UPMC programs and activities. This commitment is made by UPMC in accordance with federal, state, and/or local laws and regulations.

Medical information made available on UPMC.com is not intended to be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. You should not rely entirely on this information for your health care needs. Ask your own doctor or health care provider any specific medical questions that you have. Further, UPMC.com is not a tool to be used in the case of an emergency. If an emergency arises, you should seek appropriate emergency medical services.

For UPMC Mercy Patients: As a Catholic hospital, UPMC Mercy abides by the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services, as determined by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. As such, UPMC Mercy neither endorses nor provides medical practices and/or procedures that contradict the moral teachings of the Roman Catholic Church.

© UPMC
Pittsburgh, PA, USA UPMC.com