Dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DXA) is the most accurate scan for diagnosing osteoporosis and other bone fractures.
A DXA (DECK-sa) scan is a non-invasive procedure used to measure bone density, as well as mineral content in other parts of the body, including the:
DXA scans are the most accurate ways to diagnose:
Compared to regular x-rays, our state-of-the-art DXA technology offers more precise images, allowing for more accurate diagnoses.
More precise images
More accurate diagnoses and earlier treatment
You should not have a DXA scan if you:
48 hours before the test:
The day of your test:
A DXA scan is a non-invasive test that usually lasts between 10 and 30 minutes. DXA scans require you to lie very still for the duration of the scan, in order to produce clear, crisp images.
Before the test begins, be sure to:
A board-certified radiologist studies your scans and reports the results to your doctor. Then, your scans are delivered to your doctor via our state-of-the-art computer system.
If your images are ever needed, they can be accessed by any UPMC hospital or facility at any time of the day or night.
The results of your DXA scan will be interpreted in the form of two scores: T score and Z score.
T score: This number shows the amount of bone you have, compared to a young adult of the same gender with peak bone mass. It's used to estimate your risk of developing a fracture.
- Above -1 is considered normal
- Between -1 and -2.5 is classified as osteopenia, the first stage of bone loss
- Below -2.5 is defined as osteoporosis
Z score: This number reflects the amount of bone you have, compared to other people in your age group and of the same size and gender.
If your Z score is unusually high or low, it may indicate a need for further medical tests.