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Dexa Scan

DEXA scan

DEXA stands for “Dual-energy X-Ray Absorptiometry”, which is a means of measuring bone density. The denser the bones are, the stronger they are and therefore less likely to break (fracture).

DEXA scan at Ramsay Health Care

At Ramsay Health Care we offer excellent Dexa scanning facilities that are managed by highly experienced staff.

We book convenient and rapid-access DEXA scan appointments for our patients. With variable NHS waiting times many patients choose a private DEXA scan with private medical insurance or self-pay options.

Our primary focus is to keep our patients and staff safe in our hospitals and we have meticulous procedures in place to support this.

What is a DEXA scan?

A DEXA scan is a type of imaging that measures the density of your bones to determine if you have, or if you are at a higher risk of developing, osteoporosis. The scan can also be used to detect other potential bone disorders and conditions such as osteopenia and ‘brittle bones’. The results of a DEXA scan provide your doctor with information on how to reduce your risk of breaking a bone. 

DEXA scans are fast and painless and use low levels of X-Ray radiation to provide an accurate measurement of the amount of mineral in the bone. Special detectors in the DEXA machine measure how much radiation passes through your bones, and this information is sent to a computer. The computer compares your results with the bone density of a healthy adult of your own age, gender and ethnicity. 

A DEXA scan is more effective than a ‘standard’ x-ray at diagnosing low bone density.

Osteoporosis is a health condition that causes bones to become weak because they are less dense. It can affect anyone, at any age. 

According to the Royal Osteoporosis Society (www.theros.org.uk) one in two women and one in five men in the UK over the age of 50 will break a bone due to osteoporosis, so the condition is very common.  Reduced levels of oestrogen accelerate the breakdown of bone tissue, so the condition is more common in post-menopausal women.

Why would you need a DEXA scan?

You may need a DEXA scan if you have (or have had) any of the following: 

  • Osteoporosis, or a family history of Osteoporosis
  • A fracture after a minor fall or injury
  • Early menopause or early hysterectomy
  • A family history of fractures
  • Low body mass index (BMI) < 21
  • Suffer from an eating disorder
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Inflammatory bowel conditions (irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn’s disease)
  • Are on medication which may increase the risk of osteoporosis
  • Hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid)

Is a DEXA scan safe?

DEXA scans are very safe. They use a much lower level of radiation (X-Rays), than a standard x-ray examination. This means that the Radiographer will stay with you in the room during your examination.

We compare radiation doses to natural background levels of radiation we receive from the environment. A DEXA scan is equivalent less than a few days exposure, whilst for comparison, a Chest X-Ray uses the equivalent of about 3 days exposure.

How long does a DEXA scan take?

The scan is quick, easy and painless. You will lie flat for around 20 minutes while the scanner takes images of your spine, hip or forearm. 

What preparation do I need to do before the scan?

You don't need to make any special preparation before the scan. You can eat and drink as normal and take any prescribed medicine.

Please wear loose comfortable clothing without zips or metal buttons around the waist or hip area.

You will not need an injection.

Please let us know if you have any additional needs, so that we can ensure we provide you with the highest possible service and care.

What happens after the scan?

There are no restrictions on normal activity, you can eat and drink normally, drive and return to work immediately after the scan.

The results will be checked by a Consultant Radiologist and sent to the referring clinician (your doctor). 

We are unable to discuss your results with you immediately after the examination, as your Doctor or Consultant will do this with you at your follow-up appointment.

What is the cost of a DEXA scan?

The cost of a DEXA scan will depend on how many body parts are to be scanned, whether contrast is required, and your Ramsay hospital of choice.

You will receive a formal quotation price following a referral from your GP or appropriate clinician. This formal quote for your DEXA scan will be valid for 60 days.

 
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